Karsten Neuffer

Chief Executive Officer

Karsten Neuffer is RiceTec’s Global CEO.  He assumed responsibility for this position upon joining RiceTec in August 2022. Karsten is a seasoned executive with broad international experience, having lived and worked on three continents. Karsten began his career with McKinsey before joining Syngenta in 2006, where he held various strategic and operational leadership positions, including responsibilities for seeds businesses and as Regional Director of LATAM, with full P&L responsibility for the region. In 2018 he joined Indigo as senior executive, first as COO International, where he successfully developed and built Indigo’s international businesses, and subsequently as Global Chief Commercial Officer.

Karsten holds an M.S. in Industrial Engineering and Management Science from the University of Karlsruhe, Institute of Technology, and an MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. In his spare time, Karsten enjoys tennis, skiing, and traveling with his wife and two kids.

 

Jochen Schillinger 

Chief Financial Officer

Jochen is RiceTec’s Chief Financial Officer and has overall responsibility for treasury, business accounting, auditing, tax management, risk management, legal and intellectual property, business governance, and business planning and reporting. Jochen joined RiceTec in 2013 as Global Controller, later assuming the role of Global Finance Director before being named CFO in 2022. He has over 20 years of International Finance experience, including 10 in the Agriculture Industry.

Jochen earned his Bachelor of Arts and Diploma in Business Administration from the University of Cooperative Education, Loerrach in Germany. In his spare time, Jochen enjoys traveling, playing soccer and skiing.

 

Chakra Sankaraiah

Chief Technology Officer

Chakra Sankaraiah is RiceTec’s Global Chief Technology Officer. Chakra joined RiceTec in 2023 and is at the forefront of RiceTec’s digital transformation, spearheading efforts to leverage cutting-edge technologies such as predictive analytics, farm operations automation, and cloud services. Chakra has over 21 years of experience in data and digital technologies, including a wealth of experience in the ag-tech space, having led engineering and architecture for digital products at Land O’ Lakes and large-scale cloud-based data management products at Cloudera.

Chakra holds an MBA in Technology and Strategy from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Business, and an Electrical Engineering degree from the National Institute of Technology Jamshedpur. Additionally, he serves as a faculty member for the Center for Applied AI and is a strategic advisory member for a graduate program in software at the University of St. Thomas. In his spare time, Chakra enjoys golfing, boating, fishing, and traveling.

 

Megan DeYoung

Head of Transformation and Business Development

Megan DeYoung is the Head of Transformation and Business Development. She has global responsibility for RiceTec’s transformation, strategy, and business development activities and driving implementation of prioritized initiatives. She joined RiceTec in 2023 after serving as Vice President of Business Development at AeroFarms, a leading vertical farming company, where she developed new commercial opportunities with leading industry partners. Prior to AeroFarms, Megan served as Vice President Americas at Corporate Citizenship, a leading management consulting company specializing in corporate responsibility and sustainability. Over the course of her career, Megan has advised multiple Fortune 1000 companies on how to develop and implement strategies that marry environmental and social action with business value. 

Megan graduated from the University of Michigan with an MBA from the Ross School of Business and an MS from the School for Environment and Sustainability. She also holds a BA with High Honors in Sociology from Emory University. In her spare time, Megan enjoys music, fitness, skiing, cooking, jigsaw puzzles, and spending time with friends and family.

 

Andrei Golesteanu

Head of Human Resources

Andrei Golesteanu assumed the responsibility of Global Head of Human Resources for RiceTec in April 2023. Andrei has over 20 years of experience in Human Resources Business Partner and Talent Management roles and he joins RiceTec after serving as Senior Vice President HR at NYC Alliance, where he led the US expansion of the retail arm of the company. He previously held the position of Vice President HR for the international business at Indigo Ag, where he developed and opened new markets in Europe, Latam and Asia. Prior to that, Andrei managed the Organization Development function and the international expansion for Keurig Dr. Pepper.

Andrei graduated from the Academy of Economics in Bucharest and has a Masters degree in Global Human Resources Management from Rutgers University. In his spare time, Andrei enjoys playing basketball, running, swimming and exploring nature with his wife and two sons.

 

Jose Re

Vice President of Research and Global New Product Development Lead

Jose Re is Vice President of Research and Global New Product Development Lead for RiceTec. He began his career with the company in 2004 and has held several positions of responsibility in plant breeding for both the U.S. and South America. During Jose’s 30-year career in the seed industry, he has led the development of new hybrids for a variety of crops. Jose has served on several industry boards, including the American Seed Trade Association and U.S. Plant Variety Protection (PVP).

Jose holds a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Oregon State University. In his free time, Jose enjoys opera (especially Italian operas), growing orchards, and reading.

 

Amitabh Mohanty

Head of Global Research and Development

Amitabh Mohanty is Head of Global Research and Development and plays a pivotal role in driving forward product development, aligning research initiatives with market demands, and upholding RiceTec’s commitment to sustainability.

Before joining RiceTec, Amitabh served at Corteva Agriscience as Leader of Global Biotech Operations, Trait Discovery Operations Leader, and Program Leader, Ag Productivity, and Insect Control Traits. His contributions there were key to the success of their trait pipeline. Amitabh brings rich experience and expertise in trait discovery, technology, and product development in rice.

Dr. Mohanty holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from the Department of Plant Molecular Biology at the University of Delhi South Campus, India, and did his post-doctoral studies at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York. Dr. Amitabh is a contributor to scientific literature with numerous journal articles and patents to his name, as well as a rich history of participation in scientific conferences and symposiums. In his spare time, Amitabh enjoys running and watching cricket.

Van McNeely

President, Head of US Business

Van leads a cross-functional US Business Leadership Team with operational responsibility for the US rice seed business. Van joined RiceTec in 1997 and was instrumental in building the company’s Technical Services Department before transitioning into Sales. When RiceTec introduced the first commercial hybrid seed to the US market in 2000, Van led the team that has grown the product to be a market leader.

Van earned his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Arkansas and his Master of Science in Biology from Arkansas State University. In his free time, Van enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, boating, hunting, and fishing. He also enjoys traveling and home improvement projects.

 

Ajai Rana

Business Head, Asia Pacific 

Ajai Rana is the Business Head, Asia Pacific of RiceTec’s business in India (operating under the name of Savannah Seeds). He is operationally responsible for implementing our growth strategy across Asia. Ajai is a seasoned Agriculture Industry executive with over 31 years of experience in diverse commercial operations, business development, strategy and leadership roles across two continents. Ajai began his career with American Cynamid in 1992 and later joined Monsanto in 1995, where he held diverse sales, marketing, product management, strategy and operational leadership positions, including responsibilities for Director of Sales and Corn business of Monsanto India, Corn Traits Pricing and Pipeline biotech products for US corn market. In 2010, he joined RiceTec as Director of Business Development at Texas headquarters, where he successfully developed the Asia business expansion strategy, and subsequently moved to India and founded Savannah Seeds. By successful introduction of SmartRice hybrids and acquisition of Ganga Kaveri (GK) rice seed business, within 12 years Savannah became one the leading rice seed companies in the South Asia region.  

Ajai holds a master’s degree in Vegetable Breeding from CSK HP Agriculture University, Palampur and an MBA in Marketing from Punjabi University Patiala, India. In his spare time, Ajai enjoys badminton, cricket, farming and traveling.