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New figures at top of Driscoll’s

New figures at top of Driscoll’s, Giannella Alvarez and Graciela Monteagudo

Berry specialist Driscoll’s has appointed two new members to its Board of Directors: Giannella Alvarez, former CEO and director of the board at Beanitos, and Graciela Monteagudo, the former President and CEO of LALA U.S.

The new board appointments collectively bring strong brand growth expertise and a clear future-looking vision, the company said in a statement. Alvarez brings to the Driscoll’s board 35-years of experience across a wide range of industries in the U.S., Latin  America, and Europe, having led multi-billion-dollar brands for Fortune 100 companies including Procter & Gamble and The Coca-Cola Company in senior executive positions.

She served as Group President and CEO for Barilla Americas, a Division of Barilla S.p.A., as well as President and CEO of organic food start-ups, including Harmless Harvest Inc.

Named one of 2019’s Most Influential Corporate Board Directors by Women Inc., Alvarez is also an experienced public company board director.

She brings deep expertise in marketing, innovation, business scaling and global expansion as well as a passion for food, health and wellness, sustainability and equality, with her experience as an Advisory Board Member of New York University’s Stern School Center for Sustainable Business.

“Giannella is a highly creative and decisive leader who has a proven track record of talent building and energizing organizations across countries, customers and channels,” said J. Miles Reiter, Driscoll’s chairman and CEO. “Her significant on-the-ground international experiences will serve as an invaluable asset as Driscoll’s continues to grow and adapt to the ever-changing marketplace.”

Monteagudo built her 30-year executive career at multinational Fortune 500 companies across the consumer products, healthcare and retail industries. She has significant experience in general management roles, previously leading multi-billion-dollar corporations including SVP and Business Unit Head for Sam’s Club in Mexico, and President, Americas and Global Marketing for Mead Johnson Nutrition Americas.

She most recently served as CEO and President of LALA U.S. a leading Hispanic dairy company owned by Grupo LALA.

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Jordi Valls appointed general manager of Mercabarna 

Jordi Valls appointed general manager of Mercabarna 


The Mercabarna Board of Directors – made up of representatives of the Barcelona City Council, the national public company Mercasa and the Government of Catalonia – has today appointed Jordi Valls Riera as the new General Manager of Mercabarna, replacing Josep Tejedo, who has been leading the management of the entity for the last 8 years (April 2012-September 2020).

Born in Manresa and graduated in law from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, ​​Jordi Valls has combined his professional career between the public and private sectors. He was Mayor of Manresa (1995-2006), Minister of Labour and Industry (2006) and President of the Barcelona Port Authority (2007-2011). Subsequently, he was appointed CEO of the Suez Group in Mexico. Currently, he served as general director of North Latin America in this company.

Jordi Valls, who will assume the general management of Mercabarna as of today, replaces Josep Tejedo, who announced his departure from the company in July, to dedicate himself to new professional projects linked to the world of consulting. During the more than 8 years that Tejedo has been at the helm of Mercabarna, the wholesale market has positioned itself as the main food hub in the Mediterranean and one of the most important export markets in Europe.

The former CEO has also worked to promote training, innovation, food start-ups, and to modernize Mercabarna’s infrastructures, especially the central markets for fruit and vegetables and fish, some of which had not been renovated since the beginning.

With the stage that begins with Valls, one of the main objectives will be to increase the services to the companies of the enclosure so that they enhance their competitiveness through the study of trends, the detection of new business opportunities, the promotion of innovation and, especially, investment in the digitization of the infrastructures of the food hall.

Another of the key axes will be the World Capital of Sustainable Food in Barcelona to be held in 2021 and in which Mercabarna will play a notable role. Along these lines, the new Biomarket will open in November, the first wholesale market for organic food in Spain, and the promotion of local products and healthy habits among the child population will continue.

Mercabarna will also focus, among others, on projects to combat food waste, such as the new UPC-Mercabarna Chair, the expansion of collaboration with the Food Bank or the launch of the Center for Food Use.


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BioConsortia appoints Damian Curtis to lead new gene editing and synthetic biology platform 

BioConsortia appoints Damian Curtis to lead new gene editing and synthetic biology platform 

BioConsortia, Inc., innovator of microbial solutions in crop protection, soil fertility, and yield improvement, welcomes Dr. Damian Curtis to the company as Director of Synthetic Biology and Genomics. He will lead new technology development in strain improvement and engineering for BioConsortia’s next generation of biopesticides, biostimulants and nitrogen fixation products. 

Damian has 15 years of industrial experience with Bayer, AgraQuest and Exelixis. He is a recognized technology leader in genetic engineering and most recently he managed the microbial genetics functions in Biologics R&D at Bayer CropScience, where he also supported global projects including the Poncho/VOTiVO 2.0 product.

Damian holds a PhD in molecular biology & biochemistry from Oregon Health and Sciences University and a BS in molecular biology & chemistry from San Jose State University.

“Damian is an exceptional leader in technology innovation and is well recognized for his talent in microbial genetics and engineering in the Ag biological space,” said Hong Zhu, SVP Research & Development for BioConsortia.  “I am very pleased to have him join our R&D leadership team, especially as we are entering a new, exciting phase of growth and technology expansion to solve tough agricultural problems such as nitrogen overuse and to bring more high-performance biologicals to our partners and growers.” 

With a pipeline of highly effective conventional microbial fungicides, nematicides and biostimulants moving into the registration phase, BioConsortia is turning its focus to advance the next generation of products from their synthetic biology programme. 

As leader of the in-house Gene Editing and Synthetic Biology Platform, Damian will improve the genetics of BioConsortia’s already robust, spore-forming microbial leads in order to enhance performance of the naturally occurring nitrogen fixation bacteria. In addition to the development of new nitrogen fixation solutions, the team will also develop next generation biostimulants, fungicides, insecticides, and nematicides.

Damian Curtis said “I was first attracted to BioConsortia by their unique microbial discovery platform, and as I dug deeper into their library, leads, and products, as well as their current work on gene editing, I became more excited by the potential. I look forward to helping deliver products that will substantially change the industry.”  

“We’ve built a pipeline of highly effective natural products, and moved a number of effective biopesticide and biostimulant solutions into the registration phase” said Marcus Meadows-Smith, CEO. “We are now implementing a program for next generation products. With Damian’s leadership we will magnify the natural capabilities of our nitrogen fixing microbes and deliver solutions that can replace the growers’ reliance on synthetic products, thereby opening up the $200 billion fertiliser market for transformation.”