Monsanto rival looks for media supremo

Syngenta, one of the world’s largest agribusiness companies and an arch rival to GM crops firm Monsanto, is seeking to appoint a UK media relations boss to replace 16-year company veteran Judith Auchard, who retired at the end of 2003.

The new head of comms – who will carry a mainly media relations remit – will report to Syngenta global head of communications and public affairs Rainer von Mielecki, in Switzerland.

The UK is a key country for media relations, Von Mielecki said: ‘The job

covers our sponsorships and reputation building.

‘A lot of institutional investors in Syngenta are based in the City. The job therefore covers communication with the financial media.’

Following the new appointment, Von Mielecki intends to undertake a ‘realignment of the global communications function’.

He said any fresh appointments would be made internally, with no new jobs expected to be created.

The re-organisation would not affect agency relationships, he said.

Syngenta was formed in 2000 from the merger of the Novartis agribusiness and Zeneca agrochemicals and has become the market leader in the production and sales of selective herbicides and fungicides.

Although the company employs 20,000 people in 90 countries, the UK has most employees. Its European regional headquarters are based in Guildford and Syngenta’s international research centre – Jealott’s Hill – is in Bracknell.

The UK and Ireland are home to two business divisions – seeds and crop protection. Insecticide brands include Karate Zeon, Force and Proclaim.

Syngenta has mapped the rice genome, which could make rice crops more resistant to disease and lead to genetic mapping of wheat and corn.

Syngenta’s global sales in 2002 topped £4.1bn ($6.2bn).

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