President and CEO
Richard Hamilton has been the chief executive and a board member of Ceres since 2002. The prior four years he served as the company’s Chief Financial Officer. In addition to his leadership role at Ceres, Dr. Hamilton has served on a number of advisory councils and governing boards, for industry groups, academic institutions and the U.S. government, including the Biotechnology Industry Organization, Keck Graduate Institute Advisory Council and the U.S. Department of Energy. From 1992 to 1997, Dr. Hamilton was a principal at Oxford Bioscience Partners, one of the leading investors in the genomics field and a founder of Ceres. From 1990 to 1991, he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hamilton holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University.
Chief Financial Officer
Paul Kuc joined Ceres in 2008 as Chief Financial Officer, following a 12-year career with Monsanto Company, where he held various regional and global finance positions, including posts in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States, with his last position, beginning April 2007, as Lead Worldwide Manufacturing Finance at Seminis, Inc., which was purchased by Monsanto in 2005. At Monsanto, among other responsibilities, he developed and implemented international costing and financial systems for the seed and agricultural biotechnology company. Mr. Kuc began his career, from June 1994 to June 1996 at the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company. He holds a Master’s of Science degree in Economics from the University of Lodz, Poland and an M.B.A. from the Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario, Canada.
Wilfriede van Assche
Senior Vice President & General Counsel; Secretary
Wilfriede van Assche joined Ceres in 2000. She has more than 25 years of legal experience in the plant biotechnology and seed industry. From 1996 until 2000, Ms. van Assche was the General Counsel of the plant biotechnology and seed divisions of Hoechst Schering AgrEvo GmbH and following the merger of Hoechst and Rhone Poulenc, of the same divisions of Aventis, a leading life sciences company that is now part of Bayer AG. Previously, she was the General Counsel of Plant Genetic Systems N.V. from 1988 until its acquisition by Hoechst Schering AgrEvo GmbH in 1996. Shebegan her career with the law firm De Bandt van Hecke (now Linklaters) in Belgium from 1979 until 1982, and was counsel in the legal department of GTE Atea (now Siemens), a telecommunications company, from 1982 until 1988. Ms. van Assche holds a law degree from the University of Leuven and a postgraduate degree from the College of Europe. She is a member of the State Bar of California.
Vice President of Trait Development
Roger Pennell joined Ceres in 1998 and held various research management positions, including Director, Trait Development from 2006 until 2009 when he assumed his current role as Vice President of Trait Development. Dr. Pennell has been an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles since 2001 and a frequent reviewer for the scientific press. Dr. Pennell holds a Ph.D. from University College London. He performed post-doctoral research at the John Innes Institute and Wageningen Agricultural University, and in 1990 was the recipient of a prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowship, which he used at University College London and, from 1995, at the Salk Institute. During this time, Dr. Pennell studied cellular and molecular aspects of plant growth, development and disease resistance, and has published more than 40 scientific papers on these subjects.
Vice President of Product Development
As Vice President of Product Development, Walter Nelson oversees the management of the company’s product portfolio, including the advancement of seed and trait products. He also leads several of Ceres’ external collaboration teams and manages various licensing and intellectual propriety activities. Prior to his current position, Mr. Nelson managed several of Ceres’ product lines, and led a number of the Ceres’ early trait screening and discovery projects. He has 18 years of experience in the biotechnology and seed industries and holds an MBA and an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of California at Los Angeles.