Outgoing CEO Erik Fyrwald to retire, continue as advisor to chairman and remain on the board of directors.

October 23, 2023

3 Min Read

Syngenta Group’s Board of Directors has elected Jeff Rowe as chief executive officer (CEO) of Syngenta Group, effective January 1, 2024. Rowe is currently president of Syngenta Crop Protection, Syngenta Group’s largest business unit. He was previously president of Syngenta Seeds, where he executed a successful turnaround of the Seeds business. Erik Fyrwald, Syngenta Group CEO, will continue as CEO until the end of the year, when he will retire after seven and a half years with the company. He will continue as advisor to the chairman of Syngenta Group and remain on the board of directors.

Rowe, 50, joined Syngenta as president of Syngenta Seeds and North America in September 2016. Before his current role as head of the crop protection business, he was responsible for the successful turnaround of the Seeds business, with outstanding growth and return to profitability. He also has spearheaded Syngenta Group’s efforts into regenerative agriculture and soil health. Prior to joining Syngenta, Rowe served in several leadership roles at DuPont Pioneer over a 20-year period.

The board of directors appointed Rowe as the new CEO, as he is not only a proven business leader with nearly 30 years of diverse experience in the agriculture sector but also a fifth-generation farmer who has first-hand knowledge of the issues that are important to farmers today. Further, he is passionate about driving innovation and change to make global agriculture more sustainable, the company said.

Rowe will succeed Fyrwald, 64, who joined Syngenta as CEO in June 2016. During his tenure, he oversaw the acquisition by ChemChina, the formation of the Syngenta Group, and the growth of the business from Syngenta’s $12.8 billion in 2016 to the Syngenta Group’s $ 33.4 billion in 2022. Fyrwald’s passionate advocacy has established Syngenta Group as a leading voice in agriculture for global food security, sustainability and regenerative agriculture.

“Erik has provided outstanding leadership for Syngenta Group, steering it with steady hands through global pandemic, conflicts and challenging geopolitics while substantially transforming and growing the company,” said Li Fanrong, chairman of Syngenta Group. “We will always be grateful for his thoughtful, energetic and dynamic leadership of our Group during its transition. And it is Erik’s leadership in developing a strong team that leads naturally to our next phase. With the strong foundation established by Erik, Jeff is the right CEO to lead Syngenta Group. The board is pleased with the world-class, orderly and planned succession process and has found in Jeff a strong leader with the business acumen, operational skills and strategic vision needed to guide Syngenta Group in this critical industry.”

Frywald commented, “As a superb operational leader and strategist, able to deliver results through teamwork while building the business for tomorrow, Jeff has played a significant role in the growth of Syngenta Group. I have worked with Jeff for many years and am delighted that he will lead Syngenta Group as it continues its mission to help farmers feed the world while addressing climate change.”

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