Hugh Grant, Monsanto Company

Hugh Grant

Improving Lives

Editors’ Note

Hugh Grant has a B.S. (Honors) degree in Molecular Biology and Agricultural Zoology from Glasgow University, an M.S. degree from Edinburgh University, and an M.B.A. from the International Management Center in Buckingham, U.K. He is on the board of trustees of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Washington University in St. Louis, as well as Board Director of PPG Industries, Inc.

Company Brief

Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, with multiple outposts around the world, Monsanto Company (www.monsanto.com) is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality, and is focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of the world’s natural resources.

Would you provide an overview of Monsanto’s business and the range of products that you offer?

Monsanto is an agricultural company focused on helping farmers increase yields and decrease the impact of agriculture on key resources like soil and water. We sell seeds and traits developed through breeding and biotechnology as well as crop protection products.

How is Monsanto positioned as we come out of the economic downturn?

During the economic downturn, Monsanto made some changes to our businesses that are connected to issues other than the economy. Due to the global glyphosate supply and demand imbalance, in our 2010 fiscal year, we repositioned our weed management business to play its rightful complementary role to our seeds and traits business. Monsanto is backing new innovation that is coming out of our pipeline in the next few years, expanding launches of our current product offerings, and we revamped our pricing approach with our core products at a range of prices based on customer feedback.

What are the benefits of being headquartered in Missouri?

One of the benefits is the ease with which Monsanto employees can visit customers and receive immediate feedback. Nearly half of the nation’s total agricultural productivity is harvested within a 500-mile radius of its Creve Coeur headquarters. Also, the St. Louis area is increasingly recognized as the BioBelt. The area boasts a significant number of researchers focused on plant science and the relatively low cost of living, access to vibrant cultural activities, and recreational opportunities make the St. Louis area a terrific place to live and work.

What are your key priorities for Monsanto as you look to the future to ensure you remain the industry leader?

For me, it’s bigger than just Monsanto and the success of our company. There are huge global challenges facing all of us – climate change, increasing energy demands, a growing global population – all of which place an ever greater strain on agriculture. So when I think about priorities for our company, it’s about continuing to help farmers meet these demands but doing so with less of an impact on the environment. It’s important work and when farmers succeed, we all succeed. That’s the leadership I hope we can provide at Monsanto: a focus on the success of farmers.