Distinguished Industry Executives with Global Insight
Kincannon & Reed's leadership team offers a unique combination of senior executive search experience plus senior executive success in the food, agribusiness, and life sciences industries. This background not only gives them insight into the business drivers and requirements that characterize our clients' organizations, but also offers the benefit of personal connections with vast numbers of fellow executives in the industries we serve.
Gregory J. Duerksen
Michael L. Cooper
Dr. Karl Peter Schlichting
Gregory J. Duerksen, President. Mr. Duerksen was a senior international executive prior to joining Kincannon & Reed. As CEO, he led the successful turnarounds of a Pepsi-Cola bottling company in Mexico and of Latin America's largest fertilizer producer and exporter. Prior to these posts, he was Vice President, Marketing & Development of Terra Industries, a Fortune 500 NYSE publicly-traded company. There he
had broad strategic planning and acquisition responsibilities and led several of the organization's key product lines and directed product development and technical support. As Chairman of the Food Safety Committee of the Chemical Producers & Distributors Association, he twice testified before Congress on food safety issues. In his early career he was a consultant for McKinsey & Company, and as an Associates Fellow wrote case studies for Harvard Business School's acclaimed Agribusiness program. He is fluent in Spanish, received a BA from Augustana College, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Washington, D.C. area, USA
Michael L. Cooper, CFO & Managing Partner. Mr. Cooper brings his experience as a senior executive in the food, agribusiness and consumer products industries to clients of Kincannon and Reed. Active service as Audit Chairman for a large public food company and his memberships with food industry associations, enable him to keep his finger on the pulse of the protein industry. His current focus includes searches for associations and nonprofit organizations, protein searches (poultry, pork, turkey and beef) and allied suppliers to those industries. Michael also recruits CFO and senior-level financial executives across the food and agribusiness sectors, frequently working with board search committees. Prior to joining Kincannon & Reed in 2004, Michael applied his talent as President and CEO of branded beef products company, Meyer Foods. He served as President of Perdue Farms' Retail products division, and as SVP & GM of the Foodservice and International divisions while concurrently serving as CFO for Perdue Farms' parent company. Before joining Perdue, Michael served as SVP/CFO for Rocco Enterprises, a large privately held turkey products manufacturer. His early career includes fourteen years in various senior general management and financial leadership roles with the Dial Corporation. He began his career as a corporate investment analyst at Hallmark Cards, Inc, in Kansas City. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and an MBA from Arizona State University. He was a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Arizona, Virginia, and Maryland. Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Jon Leafstedt, Managing Partner. Mr. Leafstedt has served in wide-ranging executive roles in global agribusinesses and development-stage technology companies. Most recently, Leafstedt headed Chromatin, Inc., a plant biotechnology firm, leading its successful turnaround. He previously was President & COO of Phytodyne, Inc., another venture capital-backed biotechnology company, responsible for worldwide intellectual property and regulatory efforts for a nutritional ingredient manufacturer, Kemin Industries. Prior to these posts, he led state governmental affairs programs for the agrichemical businesses for BASF/American Cyanamid, preceded by an early career specializing in field sales and marketing management in Cyanamid's animal health products department. A leader in numerous national and state industry organizations, Leafstedt has chaired the Iowa Biotechnology Association and was a committee leader at the Animal Health Institute, American Feed Industry Association, and American Crop Protection Association (now CropLife America). He is an honors graduate of the University of Iowa's MBA program and the Animal Science program at South Dakota State University, and has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Iowa MBA program.
West Des Moines, Iowa USA
Dr. Karl Peter Schlichting, Managing Partner. Dr. Schlichting has devoted his career to agribusiness beginning in 1980 when he joined Hoechst AG in Frankfurt. He progressed to become Head of Indication Areas in the Crop Protection Division. After the merger of the agricultural activities of Hoechst AG and Schering AG to form AgrEvo, Dr. Schlichting was appointed Head of International Marketing & Sales, where he supervised product portfolio management, business intelligence, and marketing communications. Later he took over as Regional Director - Asia Pacific, responsible for crop protection, environmental health, seed, and biotechnology businesses, acting as Country Head for Japan and managing 15 Asian countries with more than 3,000 employees. Dr. Schlichting continued this assignment after the formation of Aventis CropScience, integrating the regional organizations of AgrEvo and Rhone Poulenc in Region Asia Pacific. Since leaving Aventis CropScience, he served as CEO of CropDesign, an agricultural biotechnology company based in Ghent, Belgium, where he reshaped the business strategy, raised substantial new capital, and completed a value-creating sale of the company to an industry leader. Dr. Schlichting received his PhD in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Kiel and has attended several senior executive management seminars at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland.
"You consistently challenge us and broaden our thinking and horizons. You are able to show that sometimes what we think we want is very different than what we need."
- Human resources director for a major crop input company
"We ended up with the ideal candidate combination, and one we would not have envisioned ourselves. Your firm's knowledge of the sector was invaluable as it led to opportunities beyond the search."
- Managing director of a private equity firm
"In addition to finding us great candidates, you worked adeptly and sensitively with all our internal stakeholders. Widespread ownership in the selection process will help our team extend to new hires the support they need for success."
- CEO, privately owned artisan bread company
"We have worked with all the big global firms, and Kincannon & Reed has been easily the most thorough and professional."
- Head of human resources of large multinational company
"We appreciate that you are always reachable and that you never give up even when we all know the search is extremely difficult."
- Chairman of major distribution company
"Thank you for your excellent assistance in this process. The tight search timeline was respected and I believe that the candidate will bring much value to our company."
- CEO for crop input company
"When this search started you indicated one of your goals was to provide a slate that would be so good that we would have difficulty choosing just one candidate. You far exceeded that goal."
- Business unit president for global animal health company
"One of our Senior VPs commented early on that hiring a retained firm was not our best investment of time and money. On our last conference call, however, he indicated he's become a true believer in Kincannon & Reed, and wanted to go on the record as retracting his earlier comment."
- VP of HR for multi-billion dollar, family-owned grain company
"Kincannon & Reed is universally respected and relied upon for quality partnership and mentoring when it comes to senior-level executive searches."
- Former CEO of major agribusiness organization
"Kincannon & Reed has good instincts for people and works hard to know the organization they're serving. "They do a magnificent job matching qualified candidates to the organization."
- Director of Biotech Business Development, multinational agricultural biotechnology organization
"Even when we're not using them, the Kincannon & Reed team keeps in touch because they seem genuinely interested in what we're doing. So when people ask me who we should turn to, I invariably point them to Kincannon & Reed."
- CEO of animal genetics and technology firm