NRGene (Tel Aviv Stock Exchange: NRGN), an AI based genomic company operating in the agricultural and livestock industry, announced today that Keith Blanks and Richard Calk have been appointed as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), respectively. Both are deeply experienced industry executives and will become key members of NRGene’s leadership team in driving company’s global expansion and especially the North American target market.
Keith Blanks brings over 25 years of experience in world-class privately held, publicly traded, and start-up food and agriculture companies. Prior to his appointment as CCO, Keith served as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at CALYXT (NASDAQ: CLXT), a plant-based company developing proprietary gene editing technology. Keith was responsible for the launch of the first gene-edited food product in the world and led the efforts to disseminate technological information, trust and adoption by the market. He has worked with the largest global agriculture and food companies such as Cargill, ADM, US Foods, and Sysco. In addition, Keith served as a VP and General Manager at High Liner Foods (TSE: HLF), $1.1 BB North American processor and marketer of aquaculture produce, where he led the integration with a newly acquired partner. Keith also served for over a decade in various positions at Cargill, a $130 B privately held manufacturer of food and agricultural products. There, he led a national account transformation of Cargill’s food service go-to-market strategy, managing teams, and overseeing company operations in a customer-focused, dynamic and innovative environment.
Richard Calk is an accomplished and innovative executive with extensive international life science expertise in business development, acquisition integration and international expansion. In his last position, Richard served as President and Chief Operating Officer at Neogen Corporation (NASDAQ: NEOG), a $4.5B market cap company, which is one of the leading companies in the field of genomic tests for food and animal safety. Richard was responsible for the full P&L of three divisions, among them the Genomics division, where he oversaw operations, set strategic directions and directed technological integration. Under Richard’s leadership, Neogen’s sales increased from $250M to over $400M and its market cap grew by 169% to over $4B. His impressive career includes leading positions in public and private companies such as Solutia (NYSE: SOA), Roquette America, CP Kelco, and DSM Food Specialties (AMS: DSM), where he left his mark in their growth and expansion through his roles in strategic planning and business development.
Keith and Richard join the company to accelerate NRGene’s growth worldwide and specifically in the North America – the company’s major target market. With the addition of these high-level executives and their remarkable record of serving in public companies in the food and ag-bio industries, NRGene sets the goals towards its expansion and establishment as the world leader in genomics for food and agricultural applications.
“I am thrilled to welcome Keith and Rick into NRGene. I believe that with their help we’ll be able to drive NRGene to new heights, turning our technological advantage into the industry’s mainstream,” said Dr. Gil Ronen, NRGene’s CEO and Co-founder.
NRGene develops and commercializes cutting-edge AI based genomic tools that are reshaping agriculture and livestock worldwide. Our cloud-based software solutions are designed to analyze big data generated by next generation sequencing technologies in an affordable, scalable and precise manner. By applying our vast proprietary databases and AI-based technologies, we provide leading international agriculture, seed and food companies, with computational tools to optimize and accelerate their breeding programs, significantly increasing crop yield and saving time and money. Among our customers are companies from different verticals, such as agriculture, food, beverages, oil, paper, rubber, cannabis, and others.