SOURCE: AgraQuest

May 12, 2008 20:05 ET

AgraQuest Inc. Names Marcus Meadows-Smith CEO

Meadows-Smith to Lead Crop Protection Firm Through Next Phase of Global Growth

DAVIS, CA--(Marketwire - May 12, 2008) - AgraQuest Inc., a leading provider of effective and safe pest management products inspired by nature, announced today that Marcus Meadows-Smith has been named as the company's Chief Executive Officer. Meadows-Smith joins the AgraQuest executive management team and begins his new duties effective immediately.

Mike Miille, who previously served as AgraQuest's CEO/COO, has transitioned to his new role as President and Chief Operating Officer of AgraQuest. The addition of Meadows-Smith further strengthens the company's management team and builds on the recent addition of Ashish Malik, formerly of Syngenta, as the company's Senior Vice President of Global Marketing. The sales organization remains unchanged and is led in North America by Chris Coombs, Vice President; in Europe, the Middle East and Africa by Thierry Merckling; and in Latin America by Jorge Cetti.

"Marcus is the ideal person to guide AgraQuest through our next phase of development," said Miille. "He has a strong history of strategically leading businesses for profitable growth and is a 20-year veteran of the agricultural chemicals industry. His talents, strengths and experience perfectly complement those of the rest of the management team. AgraQuest is entering a period of global expansion and Marcus' leadership will be an integral part of our long-term success."

In his role, Meadows-Smith will focus on taking AgraQuest through a high-growth phase including launching new products formulated from proprietary active ingredients, leveraging in-licensing and strategic partnerships, and targeting new global crop markets.

"As CEO, Marcus embodies all the traits that are needed to drive and support substantial rapid growth and ongoing enhancements of AgraQuest's value proposition and strategic importance," said John Pasquesi, Chairman, Board of Directors for AgraQuest. "His proven record of growing business within the agricultural chemicals industry, his approach to market development, and his rapport with the team currently in place were all an excellent fit for AgraQuest's needs. We are excited to have someone of his caliber join the company."

Meadows-Smith comes to AgraQuest following a 14-year career with Chemtura Corporation USA (formerly Crompton, Uniroyal Chemical and Great Lakes), where he recently served as Executive Vice President in charge of a $1.9 billion portfolio of businesses including the Crop Protection, Consumer Products, and Plastics Additives divisions. Prior to this, he was employed for six years by the Sumitomo Corporation where he was the Marketing Manager for the Crop Protection Products and Public Health Pesticides division, based out of London.

Citing record first quarter revenues in 2008, up 80 percent over last year, as well as several new product registrations in the U.S. and additional national registrations for the fungicide SERENADE® in Europe and Latin America, Meadows-Smith is impressed by the momentum in growth that has been established at AgraQuest.

"AgraQuest has done an excellent job of building a platform for ongoing successful growth," said Meadows-Smith. "The company has a tremendous pipeline of innovative active ingredients for use as bio-pesticides, plant health products and fumigants. Our products will bring much needed innovation and benefits for our customers in conventional and organic agriculture, and the home and garden, seed treatment, post-harvest and food safety markets. We will deliver profitable growth in all these sectors and create true value for our stakeholders, further strengthening our position as the global leader of biological products for crop protection, plant health and pest management."

Meadows-Smith, who holds a degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom and is a graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will work out of AgraQuest's company headquarters in Davis, California.

AgraQuest recently completed a $20 million round of mezzanine financing that gives the company the financial resources to capitalize on growing market opportunities and help fund new product launches. The pipeline of products includes bio-insecticides that complement the existing bio-fungicides -- SERENADE, SONATA®, BALLAD® and RHAPSODY® -- for the pre-harvest crop protection market, as well as naturally inspired products for the post-harvest, fumigant, seed treatment, and food safety markets among others.

About AgraQuest, Inc.

AgraQuest is a biotechnology company that focuses on innovation partnerships with global agrochemical and post-harvest food safety companies. AgraQuest has established an enviable record of leadership in the core competencies of discovering, developing, manufacturing and marketing effective, safe and environmentally friendly natural pest management products for the agricultural, institutional and home markets. The company sells SERENADE®, RHAPSODY®, SONATA® and BALLAD® fungicides and BARITONE™ insecticide in the U.S. market and around the world. AgraQuest received the Presidential Green Chemistry Award from the U.S. EPA for the discovery and commercialization of SERENADE. In 2004, AgraQuest received a Red Herring Top 100 Private Company Award and the World Technology Award for the Environment.