Syngenta Group is promoting two company leaders to become the next chief executive and chief financial officers, the agrichemicals and seeds giant said Friday.
Jeff Rowe, who led two of Syngenta’s business divisions over the past seven years, will become the seed and pesticide developer’s CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2024. Hengde Qin, who served as president of Syngenta’s China division and is the current chief of human resources, will be named CFO, effective Dec. 1.
Rowe, 50, will take over the role from CEO Erik Fyrwald, 64, who is retiring from the company at the end of the year. Fyrwald, who during his tenure oversaw the acquisition of ChemChina and the formation of Syngenta Group, will continue as an advisor to the chairman and remain on the board of directors.
Rowe joined Syngenta as president of its seeds division in September 2016. In the role, he helped turn around the division, returning it to profitability, before becoming head of crop protection, which is the company’s largest division. Rowe also has been pivotal in Syngenta’s regenerative agriculture and soil health efforts.
Qin, 53, will succeed Chen Lichtenstein, 56, who is stepping down to pursue other business interests. Before overseeing human resources, Qin previously led Syngenta Group China where he established strong footholds in the country’s crop protection and seeds markets.
Syngenta is one of the largest agritech companies, with more than 95,000 employees and operations in more than 100 countries. The company is registered in Shanghai, China but has its headquarters in Switzerland. The leadership shakeup comes days after Arkansas ordered Syngenta to sell its 160-acre property over its ties to China.
Sales in the year’s first half declined 3% to $17.5 billion from 2022, driven by lower crop protection results. Meanwhile, its seeds business and China division grew. Overall EBITDA fell 7% to $3.2 billion over last year, when the company achieved record sales and profits.