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Board of directors

Syngenta AG is led by a strong and experienced Board. It currently includes representatives with six nationalities, drawn from broad international business and scientific backgrounds. Its members bring diversity in expertise and perspective to the leadership of a complex, highly regulated, global business.

Name Year of birth Nationality Function Appointment
Carl M. Casale 1961 American Non-executive Director and Independent Director
Chairperson of the Audit Committee and Member of the Committee of Independent Directors
2018
Hongbo Chen 1973 Chinese Non-executive Director 2017
Louise O. Fresco 1952 Dutch Non-executive Director and Independent Director
Member of the Audit Committee and the Committee of Independent Directors
2019
Paul Fribourg 1954 American Non-executive Director
Chairperson of the Compensation Committee
2018
J. Erik Fyrwald 1959 American Chief Executive Officer
Executive Director
Chairman of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture
2018
Sophie Kornowski 1963 French Non-executive Director
Independent Director
Member of the Compensation Committee and the Committee of Independent Directors
2018
Frank Ning 1958 Chinese Chairman of the Board
Non-executive Director 
2018
Pedro Pullen Parente 1953 Brazilian Non-executive Director
Member of the Audit Committee
2019
Jürg Witmer 1948 Swiss Non-executive Director and Lead Independent Director
Chairperson of the Committee of Independent Directors and Member of the Compensation Committee
2006
Carl M. Casale
Non-executive Director and Independent Director
Chairperson of the Audit Committee and Member of the Committee of Independent Directors
Hongbo Chen
Non-executive Director
Louise O. Fresco
Non-executive Director and Independent Director
Member of the Audit Committee and the Committee of Independent Directors
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Carl M. Casale
Functions in Syngenta

Non-executive Director and Independent Director
Chairperson of the Audit Committee and Member of the Committee of Independent Directors

Carl Casale spent 26 years working for Monsanto Company, starting as a sales representative in 1984 and after several sales, marketing, business development, and business leadership roles concluded his tenure as Chief Financial Officer. In 2011, he left Monsanto to become CEO of CHS, Inc. which is the largest farmer-owned cooperative in the United States and is a Fortune 100 Company.

Mr. Casale is a Senior Agricultural Partner at Ospraie Management, LLC, which is engaged in ag-tech venture capital and private equity investing. He is also a co-owner with his wife Kim of Casale AG, LLC, which is a commercial blueberry farming operation in Oregon, US.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Economics from Oregon State University and an Executive MBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, US.

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Hongbo Chen
Function in Syngenta

Non-executive Director

Hongbo Chen is Executive Director of China National Agrochemical Company Limited (CNAC) since 2017.

After joining CNAC in 2005, he held various senior positions, including Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Assistant President and Chief Strategy Officer (2014–2017), Assistant President and Chief Strategy Officer (2011–2014), and Assistant President and Director of the Planning Department (2008–2011), Director of the Planning Department (2005–2008). From 2000 to 2005, he was Senior Engineer and Project Manager at the China National Petroleum and Chemical Planning Institute. From 1998 to 2000, he worked at the Planning Department of China National Petroleum Administration ity. From 1994 to 1998, he worked at the Chinese Ministry of Chemical Industries, holding positions in the Planning Department and the Planning Institute.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Chemicals and Engineering Management from Tianjin University and an MBA from Tsinghua University in China.

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Louise O. Fresco
Functions in Syngenta

Non-executive Director and Independent Director
Member of the Audit Committee and the Committee of Independent Directors

Prof. Louise O. Fresco is currently the President of the Wageningen University & Research Executive Board. She combines a long academic career as a professor at both Wageningen and Amsterdam universities, with extensive involvement in policy and development in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Louise Fresco spent 10 years of her career as Assistant Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. Her work has taken her to more than 60 countries outside Europe and North America. She is a member of 8 scientific academies, and has served on the boards of Rabobank and Unilever.

Louise Fresco obtained her Doctoral Degree with honors from Wageningen University specializing in tropical agriculture.

She has published both in academic journals and in the popular media, her book “Hamburgers in Paradise, the stories behind the food we eat” has been translated into 3 languages.

Paul Fribourg
Non-executive Director
Chairperson of the Compensation Committee
J. Erik Fyrwald
Chief Executive Officer
Executive Director
Chairman of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture
Sophie Kornowski
Non-executive Director
Independent Director
Member of the Compensation Committee and the Committee of Independent Directors
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Paul Fribourg
Functions in Syngenta

Non-executive Director
Chairperson of the Compensation Committee

Paul Fribourg is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Continental Grain Company. He has held his current role at Continental Grain since 1997. Prior to that, he held senior management, commercial and commodity trading roles with the company in the United States and Europe beginning in 1976. Apart from his function in Syngenta, Paul Fribourg currently holds the following board memberships:

- Listed companies: The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., Restaurant Brands International, Inc., Bunge Limited and Loews Corporation.

- Non-listed companies: Continental Grain Company, Wayne Farms LLC, Restaurant Technologies and Castleton Commodities International LLC.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Amherst College and is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

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J. Erik Fyrwald
Functions in Syngenta

Chief Executive Officer
Executive Director
Chairman of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture

J. Erik Fyrwald was previously President and Chief Executive Officer of Univar, a leading distributor of chemistry and related services (2012–2016); President of Ecolab, a cleaning and sanitation, water treatment, and oil and gas products and services provider (2011–2012); and Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nalco, a water treatment and oil and gas products and services company (2008–2011). He was Group Vice President of the Agriculture and Nutrition Division of the DuPont Company (2003–2008). Apart from his functions in Syngenta, J. Erik Fyrwald currently holds the following board memberships:

- Listed companies: Chairman of Adama Ltd., and Non-executive Director of Bunge Limited and Eli Lilly and Company.

Erik Fyrwald also serves on the Board of Directors for CropLife International, the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, and the UN World Food Program Farm to Market Initiative.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

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Sophie Kornowski
Functions in Syngenta

Non-executive Director
Independent Director
Member of the Compensation Committee and the Committee of Independent Directors

Dr. Sophie Kornowski is currently Senior Partner at Gurnet Point Capital, an investment fund based in Boston, Massachusetts, US, a wholly owned subsidiary of Waypoint Capital Group which is the investment fund associated with the Bertarelli family. In her role, she provides investment advisory services in the health-care and life-science sector.

Dr. Kornowski previously served as Executive Vice-President of Roche Partnering and was a member of the Roche Extended Corporate Executive Committee as well as a member of the Board of Chugai, Japan. Prior to that, she led the French affiliate of Roche in France for 5 years. Before joining Roche in 2007, she held several management positions at Merck & Co. (1996-2007), Sanofi Winthrop (1991-1996), Abbott Diagnostics and Abbott Pharmaceutical Products (1985-1991). In addition to her functions in Syngenta, Dr. Sophie Kornowski holds the following board memberships:

- Non-listed companies: Founder and Non-Executive Director of Même Cosmetics, France; Stallergenes Greer, France.

Dr. Sophie Kornowski is also a member of the Strategic Committee of the Genopole in France.

She holds a Doctorate in Pharmacy from the Faculty of Pharmacy Paris V, and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Chicago Booth, Graduate School of Business.

Frank Ning
Chairman of the Board
Non-executive Director 
Pedro Pullen Parente
Non-executive Director
Member of the Audit Committee
Jürg Witmer
Non-executive Director and Lead Independent Director
Chairperson of the Committee of Independent Directors and Member of the Compensation Committee
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Frank Ning
Functions in Syngenta

Chairman of the Board
Non-executive Director 

Frank Ning was appointed as Chairman of China National Chemical Corporation Limited (ChemChina) in 2018. He has also served as Chairman of the Sinochem Group Co., Ltd. since 2015. Prior to that, Frank Ning was Chairman of COFCO Corporation (COFCO) from 2004 to 2015 and Vice Chairman and President of China Resources (Holdings) Co., Ltd. from 1998 to 2004. He also worked at China Resources in top management positions for 18 years. In addition to his functions in Syngenta, Frank Ning holds the following board memberships:

- Listed companies: Chairman of Far East Horizon Ltd., Chairman of China Jinmao Holdings Group Ltd., Chairman of Sinochem Hong Kong (Group) Co., Ltd.

- Non-listed companies: Chairman of Sinochem Group Co., Ltd., Chairman of China National Chemical Corporation Ltd.

Frank Ning ranks among China’s most influential business leaders and is Co-chair of APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), Chairman of APEC China Business Council, and an Executive Director of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Frank Ning earned an MBA degree from the Business School of the University of Pittsburgh in the United States and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Shandong University in China. He is a certified Senior International Business Engineer.

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Pedro Pullen Parente
Functions in Syngenta

Non-executive Director
Member of the Audit Committee

Pedro Parente is currently Chairman of BRF, a leading global food company. He is also Chairman of General Atlantic in Brazil, a global private equity company, and a partner in EB Capital, a Brazilian private equity company. He is a fellow of the George Washington University – the Center for Latin American Studies, in Washington DC.

He was the Chairman of the Board of B3, the Brazilian stock exchange, among many other listed and non-listed companies. Most of his early professional experience was in the Brazilian public sector (1971-2002) having occupied several positions in Brazil’s Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Planning, helping the institutional building in the public financial area in Brazil, including the creation of the National Treasury Organization. As a Minister of State, he was in charge of the Energy Crisis Committee and was Chief of Staff to President Cardoso. After his experience in the public sector, he went to the private sector, were he was COO or CEO of four major companies in Brazil, including Petrobras and BRF. As Petrobras’ CEO he led the company’s recovery. Apart from his function in Syngenta, Pedro Parente currently holds the following board memberships:

- Listed companies: BRF S/A.

- Non-listed companies: Continental Grain Company, E.bricks Early Stage Consultoria Ltda, EB Capital, Pague Menos S/A, and Prumo Logistica.

He is also the Chairman of OSESP’s board, the Symphony Orchestra of São Paulo.

Pedro Parente graduated in Electronic Engineering from the University of Brasília.

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Jürg Witmer
Functions in Syngenta

Non-executive Director and Lead Independent Director
Chairperson of the Committee of Independent Directors and Member of the Compensation Committee

Jürg Witmer joined Hoffmann-La Roche in Basel in 1978 and subsequently held a number of positions including Legal Counsel, Assistant to the CEO, General Manager and China Project Manager of Roche Far East based in Hong Kong, Head of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at Roche headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, and General Manager of Roche Austria. From 1999 to 2005, he acted as Chief Executive Officer and from 2005 to 2017 as Chairman of the Givaudan Group in Vernier/Geneva. From 2008 to 2012, he was also Chairman of Clariant AG, Basel. Apart from his functions in Syngenta, Jürg Witmer currently holds the following board memberships:

- Non-listed companies: Non-executive Director of A. Menarini IFR, Florence, Italy; and Chairman of Montcaud Holding SA, Geneva, Switzerland.

He holds a Doctorate in Law from the University of Zurich, as well as a Degree in International Studies from the Graduate Institute of the University of Geneva.