Wheatsheaf Group appoints new Executive Director and establishes San Francisco operation to grow its North American investments

8th November 2019

Wheatsheaf Group appoints new Executive Director and establishes San Francisco operation to grow its North American investments

Wheatsheaf Group, the company which operates, invests in and helps to develop businesses in the food and agriculture sectors and that is part of the Grosvenor Estate, is expanding its operations in North America with the appointment of Monty Bayer as Executive  Director, and board member and the establishment of a new office in San Francisco.

Monty is the former president and CEO of Fresno company Actagro LLC – which produces soil and plant health technologies.  During his time at Actagro, he helped to significantly grow the company’s revenues and expand its presence from three to 28 countries, ultimately leading its sale for $340M to Nutrien, the world's largest provider of crop inputs and services.

Prior to this, Monty spent more than 20 years with the Dow Chemical Company and its global subsidiaries, where he rose to the role of Corporate Vice President responsible for its technology venture investing activities and business development. 

Speaking on his appointment, he said: “What motivates and drives me is a natural fit with Wheatsheaf’s purpose of developing commercially viable solutions at scale to improve efficiency in the production of healthy and nutritious food to meet the increasing demands of a changing global population.

“I am looking forward to working with the Wheatsheaf team and using my knowledge and experience to support the growth of the companies within its portfolio.”

Monty becomes Wheatsheaf’s second Executive Director and board member to be based in North America, joining Stephan Dolezalek who is also San Francisco based. 

As part of Monty’s appointment, Wheatsheaf will establish a new operation in the San Francisco Bay area, where two of its portfolio companies have headquarters: BluWrap – whose technology naturally extends the shelf life of fresh proteins beyond 40 days, meaning foods can be shipped rather than air-freight saving on CO2 emissions – and Purfresh – which is reducing the risk of spoilage in high value foods, such as blueberries, avocados and mangos, being transported in refrigerated shipping containers without using any harsh chemicals.

Graham Ramsbottom, Chief Executive Officer, Wheatsheaf Group, said: “Monty brings proven qualities in growing companies around the world. His skill and knowledge strengthen one of the largest and longest established investment teams dedicated to the sector. 

“San Francisco is somewhere we know well, both through Stephan Dolezalek, who has experienced sustained success in the city, as well as through our portfolio companies, BluWrap and Purfresh. Grosvenor, one of the largest privately-owned international property companies, and which is part of the Grosvenor Estate, has also had a presence in the city since 1977.  Establishing operations in San Francisco with a new office in the Bay area will better enable us to support our nine portfolio companies across North and South America and explore new potential investment opportunities operating from and within the US’s biggest agricultural producing state.”

This appointment is part of a drive to add strength and depth to Wheatsheaf’s capabilities and enable the business to accelerate its growth aspirations. Wheatsheaf recently appointed Katrin Burt, former Managing Director of Syngenta Ventures and a partner at Intersouth Partners based in North Carolina, to the role of Executive Director and board member. US based consultants Dr Alan Barton, former Chief Executive Officer of Lehigh Technologies, and William Hickey, the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sealed Air Corp, also joined Wheatsheaf’s Advisory Board providing support across the portfolio. 


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