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Corteva Names James Collins CEO

Longtime DuPont employee has legacy in agriculture innovation.

The leadership team of the new companies created by the merger of Dow AgroScience and DuPont is taking shape, as DowDuPont announced this week that James Collins Jr. will lead Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of what is now DowDuPont.  

Separation of the company into two divisions – agriculture and specialty products – should be completed by June 1, 2019.

Collins is currently chief operating officer of the agriculture division. He was executive vice president at DuPont, responsible for the company’s agriculture segment, including DuPont Crop Protection and Pioneer. A veteran of the DuPont company since 1984, he has served in a variety of roles in DuPont’s seed and crop protection businesses around the world. Prior to leading the agriculture segment, he spent three years leading two of DuPont’s other large business segments, performance materials and electronics and communications.  

Corteva CEO James Collins
 “I am privileged to lead Corteva on behalf of all the important stakeholders we serve every day,” Collins said in a statement. “Our combined rich history, balanced portfolio, and deep connections to our customers give me enormous confidence in Corteva’s future as a focused, pure-play agriculture company. We will compete and succeed by delivering to farmers the most innovative products and value-added services in our industry.”

Other members of the Corteva Agriscience leadership team include Rajan Gajaria, who was formerly vice president of crop protection of the agriculture division of DowDuPont and will be executive vice president of Corteva Agriscience’s business platform; Tim Glenn, formerly vice president of seed of the agriculture division of DowDuPont, will be executive vice president, chief commercial officer; Greg Friedman, who has served as the head of finance of the agriculture division and vice president of investor relations for DowDuPont will be Corteva’s executive vice president, chief financial officer; and Cornel Fuerer, currently head of legal for the agriculture division, will be senior vice president, general counsel.

“Over the past year, we have put in place a strong foundation to build Corteva into a global agriculture leader ideally equipped to grow by putting our customers at the center of everything we do,” Collins said in the release. “Now we are putting the best people in the roles to accelerate the momentum we’ve built as a division and capture the dynamic opportunities we have to serve our customers as a multibrand, multichannel business and drive growth into the future.”

DuPont, meanwhile, will be led by Marc Coyle, chief executive officer; Jeanmarie Desmond, executive vice president, chief financial officer; and Erik Hoover, senior vice president, general counsel.

A History Lesson

The $130 billion merger of Dow AgroScience and Dupont Crop Protection was finalized in 2017, after which the new DowDuPont company announced it would separate into three divisions: agriculture, specialty products, and material science. In February, the company unveiled the new name for its Agriculture Division: Corteva Agriscience (Corteva is a combination of two words meaning “heart” and “nature.”)

As expected, Corteva realigned its seeds portfolio, announcing in May that it would retain Pioneer as the global flagship seed brand, and Mycogen and Terral as the primary retail seed brands. Corteva kept five regional brands, including Dairyland Seed, Hoegemeyer, NuTech, Seed Consultants, and Terral. It dissolved five regional seed brands: Brodbeck, Curry, Doebler’s, Pfister, and Prairie Brand. The company will also maintain the AgVenture independent network of regional seed companies and will sell cotton seed through its Phytogen brand and alfalfa through the Alforex brand.

To garner the approval of U.S. and foreign regulators, DuPont had to divest parts of its crop-protection portfolio. As a result, FMC bought DuPont’s global chewing pest insecticide portfolio, its global cereal broadleaf herbicide portfolio, and a share of DuPont’s global crop-protection R&D capabilities. Meanwhile, DuPont bought FMC Health and Nutrition and received $1.2 billion in cash as part of the deal.

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