Leadership

K. Ivan F. Gothner, Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Gothner has been Managing Director and founder of Adirondack Partners, LLC, a private merchant-banking firm that focuses on serving small and mid-size growth companies, since 1993. He has been active as a merchant banker focusing on small and mid-size growth companies for his entire career. His work has focused on companies experiencing rapid growth as a result of introducing new technologies and products or by entering new markets. Prior to founding Adirondack Partners, Mr. Gothner was Senior Vice President of Barclays Bank from 1990 to 1992, responsible for establishing an investment banking unit to serve small and mid-sized companies. Mr. Gothner joined Kleinwort Benson Limited in 1986 and from 1987 to 1990, he served as a Senior Vice President of the firm and General Manager of the KB Mezzanine Fund, L.P., a specialized fund which invested in the equity and junior capital of small and mid-sized businesses. Currently, Mr. Gothner serves on the Board of Directors of ArtID, LLC, Best Buddies of Massachusetts and serves as a Trustee of Wilbraham & Monson Academy. Mr. Gothner received a Bachelor’s of Art from Columbia College in political science and economics and a MIA from Columbia University’s School of International Affairs in international economic policy and finance. 

Gerry Daignault, Interim Chief Financial Officer & Managing Director Hog Production - USA

Mr. Daignault brings to AgFeed more than 26 years of senior US executive experience including 18 years at the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) level for several leading US and global agricultural companies in animal feed and hog production. In the 1980s, he became the Director of Finance at Purina Mills, the largest US feed company. In the late 1990’s, he was the CFO for PMAG Products, a subsidiary of Tate & Lyle, N.A., a global leader in animal feeds and premix. His responsibilities included the formulation and execution of an aggressive M&A strategy that led to the consolidation of various operating subsidiaries and services positioning the company for future growth.   Additionally, Mr. Daignault was the CFO of Newsham Hybrids, currently the 3rd largest swine genetics company in the US. Before co-founding Spectrum Agribusiness in 2006, he was CFO/Director of Finance for PIC North America, the largest swine genetics company in the US and a leading swine genetics company in the world. While at PIC, Mr. Daignault was responsible for operational and organizational restructuring that allowed PIC to profitably reposition itself to meet the needs of the rapidly consolidating North American pork industry. He has a Bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from the University of Missouri in 1979.

Edward Pazdro, Chief Accounting Officer

Mr. Pazdro has served as our Chief Accounting Officer since the spring of 2011.  He joined the company in 2009 as chief financial officer of AgFeed International Protein Technology Corp., the joint venture we established prior to our acquisition of M2P2, LLC which focused on deploying western-style hog production systems in China.  Mr. Pazdro brings more than 25 years of financial expertise to AgFeed having served as the Controller for PIC USA Inc., a subsidiary of biotechnology leader Genus plc, an international leader in providing genetically superior pig breeding stock and technical support for maximizing genetic potential to the global pork chain. Mr. Pazdro was responsible for PIC's financial management, financial reporting, tax and audit coordination, management of cash and internal controls. Additionally, he developed inventory valuation models for compliance with US GAAP and international accounting standards, including agriculture-specific requirements for biological assets. Mr. Pazdro possesses broad-based financial management experience, which he gained at global organizations including Tate & Lyle North America, Inc. and Gambro, Inc. Mr. Pazdro has been a certified public accountant since 1981.

Thomas Zhi Yang, Esq., Managing Director - China

Mr. Yang assumed his current responsibilities in March 2012 after having worked with AgFeed directly and indirectly since 2008.  Prior to joining the company in 2011 as Special Counsel, Mr. Yang served as a member of the company’s outside legal team working as an attorney with Stevens & Lee PC and Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC.  While in private practice he focused on serving Chinese companies in accessing the US capital markets and with their M&A needs. He has a broad cross-border understanding of Chinese law, economics and society.  Mr. Yang has also served as a judge in China and as a government regulator before entering private practice in China.  Mr. Yang has earned master’s degrees from both China University of Political Science & Law and Temple University in international law and US law respectively.

Ming Wei, Ph.D., Managing Director Hog Production - China

Dr. Wei joined AgFeed in September 2011 to lead hog production in our China based legacy production system as part of our overall initiative to upgrade the management and leadership of this production system. Dr. Wei has substantial experience in hog production in China having served as the General Manager of Hog Business Development at New Hope and Technical Manager of PIC Asia where he helped establish PIC’s business in China.  He received his doctorate from Wageningen Agricultural University of Holland and has conducted post doctoral research at the University of Guelph in Canada.

Bill Wilson, Managing Director Production System Development 

Mr. Wilson initially joined AgFeed in 2009 as a leader of our then joint venture AgFeed International Protein Technology Corp.  He has extensive experience in live animal agriculture having worked with Tyson Foods as a Regional Manager and with Seaboard Farms where he was part of a team that over a 5 year period developed a hog breeding, feeding and processing system for 4 million hogs annually.  Mr. Wilson holds a degree in Animal Science.