Dr. Wells is a seasoned senior executive with extensive domestic and international leadership and management expertise. She has over 30 years of experience in developing commercial, technical and regulatory strategies for the launch of conventional seed and seedling products and products of renewable energy, crop protection and plant technology in agricultural and forestry markets throughout the world. She has a Ph.D., Agronomy/Weed Science, Oregon State University, MS, Plant Pathology/Nematology, and BS with Honors, Horticulture, University of Arizona.
Her previous post was Vice President Global Strategy, Agrivida, Inc., a firm that develops feed-stocks for the production of biofuels and bio-products from non-food agricultural residues and dedicated biomass crops. This was preceded as President of BHW Enterprises, a company specialized in providing consulting services in agriculture and renewable energy. From 2002 to 2012 she was President and Chief Executive Officer of ArborGen, Inc., a global forestry tree seedling, and tree breeding business. She led the transformation of the organization from a tissue culture start-up company to a fully operational business with over $30 million in revenues, and commercial sales of over 250 million tree seedlings. Prior to joining ArborGen, Dr. Wells was Vice President responsible for growth initiatives and investments in Latin America for Emergent Genetics, an agricultural investment firm.
In her early career, she worked in field product development with Monsanto where she moved from a scientific representative role to the leader of the development team across the world for many crops: tree crops, fruits and nuts, cotton, and others. Throughout her career, Dr. Wells has worked with farmers and applied her science to improve the productivity of the farmer, framing science for applied solutions at the farmer level.
Dr. Wells has spent a large part of her life living outside of the USA. She grew up in Perú and Bolivia, was based in Brazil for several years and speaks Spanish and Portuguese. Her move to CIP corresponds with her ambition to improve the livelihoods of the world’s poor farmers, and to drive forward the mission of CIP in rural development.
Dr. Wells replaces Dr. Pamela K. Anderson who served as CIP DG from 2005-2013. Dr. Anderson departed CIP on December 1 for a position with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Wells will take the position on February 1, 2014. David Theriault will serve as interim DG until that time.