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Chief Scientific Officer

Millar Cameron
Full Time
Posted Today
Job description

Verdant Bioscience was established to significantly increase oil palm yield / ha. This is the single most advantageous sustainability criterion available to the global oil palm industry, and there is a clear physiological opportunity to significantly improve yield. In order to meet higher world-wide demand for vegetable oils, and particularly for oil palm, higher yields will take the pressure off the need for further deforestation and biodiversity destruction, reduce green-house gas emissions and increase food supply for the world’s hungry. Verdant pursues these ethical and very significant sustainability goals, as well as clear commercial objectives.

The core activities of the company are plant breeding, biotechnology, agronomy, and crop protection. Verdant is a joint venture company, headquartered in Singapore and operating in North Sumatra, Indonesia. Its largest shareholders are two long-established, publically listed Belgium corporates (Ackermans & van Haaren and SIPEF) together with a fully sustainable, publically listed Indonesian plantation company who share the same long term view as the company founders, who are also shareholders. This is to realize significant benefits from tropical perennial crops through the persistent application of relevant science, which is Verdant’s ultimate purpose. Subject to scientific progress and profitability, Verdant’s ambition is to have an impact and presence across the global oil palm industry, and also other perennial tropical crop sectors. About the role: Verdant Bioscience is looking for a Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) to primarily lead all breeding activities, including genomics, cytology and tissue culture. Ideally the CSO will also oversee agronomy, crop protection and geographic information systems (GIS) programmes. Although it is evident that this is a science, research focused role, there is a clear requirement for leadership competence, in order to further develop a team of highly skilled, local and international scientists. The current team consists of 15 graduate/post-graduate direct reports and over 100 field workers, working across five laboratories and very many multi-location field trials. The position embraces:
  • Working with other members of the leadership team to shape, develop and implement the scientific strategies of the business.
  • Developing a culture of continuous improvement across the team and the breeding programmes.
  • Ensuring the genetic quality of the company’s commercial seed is improved and regularly reviewed.
  • Assuming total responsibility and accountability for breeding and other scientific activities.
  • Leading the analysis and interpretation of the results of field trial programmes (particularly agronomy & crop protection). The conclusions of the trials must lead to either improvements of the services which are provided to company clients or result in the further development of standard plantation operating procedures.
  • Developing and verifying the company’s scientific procedures and ensuring they are compliant with the ISO9001 Quality Management System standards.
  • Developing and managing the annual science strategy review and the resultant budget, and articulating the value of different approaches with risks recognized.
There is the clear opportunity for career progression, as an applicant who shows the right skills and ability could, in time, become a candidate to be a future Managing Director of the business. Qualifications and experience required:
  • A relevant post graduate degree in the field of agriculture, agronomy, plant science or a related subject.
  • Solid plant breeding experience in a commercial environment.
  • Managerial experience, allowing the candidate to develop the team and achieve optimal results.
  • Tropical agriculture experience, ideally within perennial crops. However, annual crop experience will be considered.
  • A demonstrably clear record in assuming ownership and accountability for a team, and the results it delivers.
  • A level of financial acuity.
  • Cultural awareness and a high level of emotional intelligence.
  • Strong verbal and written communication abilities in English.
  • A willingness to learn Bahasa Indonesia, the local language.
Remuneration & benefits:
  • Attractive salary (dependent on skills and experience).
  • Bonus eligibility.
  • Housing.
  • Transport
  • Annual flight home (and for family, if applicable).
  • Contribution towards education of children up to age 18 (if applicable).
  • Medical insurance.
About the location: Indonesia is a fascinating and safe country. Verdant Bioscience’s operations are conducted at the Verdant Plantation Science Centre, which sits in a landscaped location at the heart of Verdant’s 1,000 ha plantation. The site is close to Medan city, a multicultural and vibrant provincial capital, and very close to a modern international airport, 50 minutes from Kuala Lumpur or an hour from Singapore.

Since 2007 Millar Cameron has specialised in sourcing leadership and keyperson talent across a number of industries, including agribusiness, international development, industrial, consumer, financial and professional services, private equity, and technology, media and telecommunications. Our mission and purpose is to positively contribute to the development of Africa, and other emerging markets, through the provision of people.

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