Feeding pigs was only the beginning in the career of an agricultural leader

As a child, Jeff Rowe spent a lot of time feeding pigs and cattle. It was the task assigned to him as the only boy in an American farming family in the U.S. state of Illinois, in the American grain  belt.

Today, that farm is still run by Rowe’s parents, despite its large size – 1,200 hectares, compared with the average Swiss farm of only 21 hectares. That’s made possible by the farm’s high level of mechanization and computerization.

Rowe, age 50, returns to his parents' farm as often as possible and enjoys getting  behind the wheel of a combine harvester himself.

His farm upbringing led him to study agricultural economics. Rowe spent more than 20 years at DuPont Pioneer, eventually becoming head of its European business. DuPont Pioneer has since been absorbed by Corteva, the third-largest agrochemical group after Syngenta and Bayer.

Rowe joined Basel-based Syngenta in September 2016, taking over the Syngenta Seeds unit and leading the Seeds division to 50% growth in revenue.

In 2022, Rowe was promoted to Group CEO of Syngenta Crop Protection, which is managed from Basel and is by far Syngenta's largest business unit. In 2022, the division contributed $16.3 billion to Syngenta Group’s total sales of $33.4 billion dollars.

This month, Rowe replaced the 64-year-old outgoing CEO, Erik Fyrwald.