Nigel Moore - President

Nigel Moore is British and studied Agriculture at Nottingham University specialising in plant physiology, genetics and breeding.  He has worked in the UK and European plant breeding industry for 25 years with experience in cereals, oilseed rape, pulses, maize, sugar beet and recently potatoes.  Since 1996, Nigel has worked in KWS based in the UK and from a background in variety maintenance, registration, protection and seed production he is a past managing director of KWS UK Ltd.

Nigel is currently the Head of Business Administration for KWS SAAT SE Cereals business unit with worldwide scope for cereals business development and business unit strategy.  He is also a past chairman of the UK breeders association (BSPB) and a member of the Field Crops Board of ISF. He is the President of the ESA Board since 2015.

Régis Fournier – Vice-President

Régis Fournier is French and studied agronomy at the University Sup Agro in Montpellier. He has been President of the Union Française des Semenciens (UFS) since 2013 and Director of Innovation and International Development of Maïsadour Semences. He joined the group in 1992 and progressed to marketing and sales functions before becoming Director of the Seeds Branch in 2003.

He is also a member of the group’s Executive Committee and was Director of the contractual productions (for vegetables and seeds) for five years. Furthermore, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the GNIS and the AGPM.

Eric Devron - Treasurer

Eric Devron is French and worked his entire career in the seed industry. With a technical agriculture background, Eric completed the Young Manager Program at Insead, before becoming a Sales Manager in the Sugar beet division at Limagrain and then being promoted as Sales Manager for sugar beet at Momont in 1984. In 1991, when Hilleshog/Sandoz Seeds established its own distribution channel in France, Eric became Head of Sales and Marketing. In 2002, Eric moved from sugar beet to cereals where he was appointed General Manager of Benoist, a family company recently acquired by Syngenta. In 2010, after almost 30 years spent in seed marketing and strategy, he became General Manager of UFS, the recently created unified organisation of the seed companies in France.

In 2017, Eric took over the General Manager position at Sicasov. He is also member of the Executive Committee at ESA and active in various commissions in France and in ISF.

Marian Suelmann - Chair IP&Breeder’s Rights

Marian Suelmann is Dutch and was born in 1967 in the Netherlands. She obtained her Master of Laws at the University of Nijmegen (the Netherlands) including one year of study at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. Her professional career started in 1992 as a staff member responsible for legal affairs at NVZP (Dutch Seed trade association, later merged into Plantum) where she worked until 1998. She then became company lawyer and Head of Department of Legal Affairs at the Dutch seed company Rijk Zwaan and at the same time member of the IP committee of Plantum.

In 2000 Marian became a member of the Committee on Intellectual Property and Breeder’s Rights (CIPR) within ESA which she is chairing since 2006.

Niels Louwaars - Chair Regulatory&Legal Affairs

Niels Louwaars (1958) studied plant breeding at Wageningen University and obtained a PhD in legal and policy issues affecting seed systems. After some 10 years in seed projects in Asia and Africa, he returned to Wageningen. He was involved in internationalisation of Wageningen UR, including a role as liaison with the CGIAR system, and performed policy research from his base at the Centre for Genetic Resources (NL). He published widely on seed systems, seed regulation and various (property) rights on genetic materials, and was sworn in at the Breeder’s Rights Chamber of the District Court in The Hague. Since September 2011 he is director of Plantum in The Netherlands. He remains connected to the department of Law and Governance of Wageningen University, and is a member of the board at NAK, Naktuinbouw, Greenport Holland, and the Dutch Council for Horticulture.

Within ESA, Niels is chairing the Committee on Regulatory and Legal Affairs (CRLA) since 2013.

Dietmar Brauer - Chair Section Oil & Fibre Plants

Brauer is German and studied business administration. He started his career in 1987 entering into the Norddeutsche Pflanzenzucht Hans-Georg Lembke KG (NPZ-Lembke). Afterwards, in 1999 he became Managing Director of the subsidiary of NPZ-Lembke in Malchow/Poel (Germany) and took over as General Partner of the management of NPZ-Lembke companies: NPZ-Lembke Semences SARL in Paris (France), NPZ-Lembke in Kiev (Ukraine), LS Plant Breeding (UK), LS Production (France), DL Seeds (Canada). Since 1997, he is also partner of several breeding companies in Europe and abroad as well as member of the Committee of Shareholders. Dietmar also occupies several honorary posts in companies such as the Bundesverband Deutscher Pflanzenzüchter e.V. (BDP) and the Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen e.V. (UFOP) in Germany.

Michael Gohn - Chair Section Cereals & Pulses

Dr. Michael Gohn is Austrian and holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Vienna (1976), after which he worked as Research Assistant at the Institute for Radiation Chemistry of the University of Vienna. He then was employed at the Products Development Department of the OMV AG, the Austrian Petroleum Company. From 1990 onwards he progressed in his career as Assistant to the management at the Fritz Mauthner Company Group. From 1999 onwards he became Manager of Probstdorfer Saatzucht and other companies of the group. Since 2000 Michael became head of the Grain Trade at the Federal Agricultural Trade Association in Austria.

Besides being Chairman of the ESA Section Cereal and Pulses (SCP) and member of the ESA Board, he is also Chairman of the DG AGRI Advisory Group Seeds and Head of the Austrian Seed Association.

Claude Grand – Chair Section Maize

Claude GRAND is French. He studied plant biotechnology at Toulouse University and obtained a PhD in plant physiology. He started his career as scientist at the CNRS, the French scientific institute and became Doctor in Sciences.

In 1988 Claude joined the RAGT Company and has worked in different positions, starting as Biotechnology Manager and progressing as Research Director, Scientific Director and since 2005 as Managing Director of RAGT Semences.

During his career he has been strongly involved in international organisations.
In particular within ESA he has been member of the CIPR and within ISF chairman
of the Intellectual Property Committee.

Jens Holstborg - Chair Section Forage Plants & Amenity Grasses

Jens Holstborg was born in Copenhagen (DK) in 1970 and holds a Master of Science Degree in Dairy Science and Technology. After graduation in 1993 he worked 2 years in dairy research and 13 years in the food ingredients business before joining the Danish seed company Hunsballe Frø as Managing Director in 2008. Currently he is the Managing Director of DSV Frø Danmark, a subsidiary of the Deutsche Saatveredelung Group, where he is responsible for the Danish business as well as the DSV group production of grasses, legumes and catch crops.

Since 2014 Jens is Chairman of the ESA Section Forage Plants and Amenity Grasses. On national level he is Deputy Chairman of the Danish Seed Traders Association plus a board member in several industry relevant associations.

Ibrahim El-Menschawi - Chair Section Vegetables & Ornamentals

Ibrahim El-Menschawi is German with a degree in agricultural engineering and started his career at Asgrow Germany as a vegetable seed salesman in 1990 for which he held various management positions in Italy, Belgium, Germany and France.

In April 2006 Ibrahim joined Seminis in Oxnard, California as Global Strategy and Marketing VP. Mid- end of 2007 he moved with the Global Leadership team of Vegetables to St. Louis, Missouri. There he was involved in the acquisition of Poloni Seeds in France, Western Seed in the Netherlands, Peotec in Italy and finally De Ruiter Seeds in the Netherlands which later became the Monsanto Vegetable Division. In the summer 2009 Mr. El Menschawi returned to Europe, first to lead Monsanto’s EMEA Crop Protection division and, since September 2010, the Seed & Trait business in West Europe.

Since 2011 Ibrahim is member of the Board and became chair of the Section Vegetables and Ornamentals in 2015.

Jörg Renatus - Chair Section Potatoes

Jörg Renatus was born in 1962 and holds a degree in Business Administration. His professional experience results from several employments within the potato industry. In 1986 he started his career as export manager in a midsize potato breeding and trade organization. Later on he was appointed as Managing Director of this group of companies. Having gained a vast knowledge in national and international potato breeding and trade industry, he joined in 2002 EUROPLANT Pflanzenzucht, Lüneburg, one of the leading companies in this industry.

Since 2012 Jörg is Chairman of the Section Potatoes (SPO) and member of the Board.

Gerard Backx – Member-at-Large

Gerard Backx is Dutch and graduated 1984 in plant breeding from Agricultural University Wageningen in the Netherlands. Before joining his current company HZPC, Gerard was working in different management positions for the agricultural seed company Advanta and its predecessor VanderHave between 1984 and 2001. Having worked with several crops, Gerard mainly focused on sugar beet seed and grass seed.

Since August 2001 he is CEO of HZPC, a Dutch seed potato company with its headquarters in Joure. He was ESA President for three years (2012-2015), and one of his main priorities was the promotion of the seed marketing legislation as well as IP rights towards key decision makers.

Paolo Barbieri – Member-at-Large

Paolo Barbieri is the Managing Director of DuPont Pioneer in Europe. In his role, Paolo is responsible for leading business operations across Europe.

In October 2015, Paolo joined the board of directors of the European Seed Association (ESA).

Paolo started his career in DuPont in 1990 and has served in a number of different roles and countries, including Regional and Global Business Director as well as Corporate roles, in USA, Germany and Switzerland.

Fabrizio Ceccarelli - Member-at-Large

Fabrizio Ceccarelli was born in 1965 in Italy and has worked his entire career in the Italian seed industry. After graduating in 1991 in the Faculty of Economy and Trade at the University of Bologna, he started working as Sales and International Unit Manager for the company C. Ceccarelli Sementi S.r.l. in Forlì. In 1994 he continued his career as International Sales Manager at the “SAIS S.p.A.” in Cesena, a small Italian private company dealing with vegetable seeds as Production Company and also having breeding in some species. In 2003 he became Managing Director of the “SAIS S.p.A.”, a position that he covers still today.

Next to his position as member-at-large representing the Italian Seed Association within ESA, Fabrizio is also member of the Vegetable & Ornamental Board of ISF.

François Desprez - Member-at-Large

François Desprez is French and graduated 1979 from Agrotech Paris with a master in plant breeding. After an internship at Dekalb Ag in USA, he graduated 1983 from MBA HEC in Paris. Having joined the family company Florimond Desprez, he has held several positions in the marketing and export departments before being nominated as CEO in 1993 and President of the Group in 1999.

Between 2000-2002, François has been the last president of ASSINSEL (The International Association of Plant Breeders for the Protection of Plant Varieties) before its merger with FIS (Fédération Internationale du Commerce des Semences) to form ISF. Within ESA, he has already chaired the Section Cereals and Pulses (SPC) and later became Vice-President and President from 2006 until 2009. From 2009 until November 2013, François has been President of UFS, the French seed association.


Jean-Christophe Gouache - Member-at-Large

Jean-Christoph is French and an Agricultural Engineer graduate from the National Agronomic Institute in Paris. Since 1981 until now, he has worked in different position within the Limagrain Group, starting as corn breeder and progressing as COO of LG Seeds (Groupe Limagrain) in the USA (Illinois) and as CEO of Pharmaceutical Company Dolisos (part of Limagrain Group). From 1998 to 2004 Jean-Christophe occupied the position of Corporate Vice-President and afterwards CEO Field Seeds Division.

At present he is CEO of the Vegetable Seeds Division of the Groupe Limagrain. Besides being a member-at-large of the ESA Board, he is also member of the ISF Board, Chairman of the Breeders Committee and member of ISF Executive Committee.

László Láng - Member-at-Large

Dr. László Láng is Hungarian graduated from the Agricultural University, Gödöllő, Hungary in 1978 after which he joined the Agricultural Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in the same year. Between 1979-1981 László participated in a postgraduate course on plant breeding and genetics and received University doctor degree in 1983, PhD in 1992, DSC in 2006. He has been the Head of the Cereal Breeding Department since 1994. He is co-breeder of 74 winter wheat, 8 durum wheat and 3 oat varieties as well as co-author of 195 scientific publications. He is involved in several national and EU research projects.

László is Honorary professor at the Veszprém University, Hungary and Honorary Assistant Professor at the Debrecen University, Hungary. He is also Vice President of the Hungarian Seed Association, former Secretary General of EUCARPIA (2008-2012).

Karol Marciniak - Member-at-Large

Karol Marciniak is Polish and has been working for many years as triticale breeder. Since 2001 he is the General Manager of DANKO Hodowla Roslin Ltd., a field crop breeding company located near Poznan, Poland.

For some years Karol has been Vice-President and Chairman of the Breeder’s Committee of the Polish Seed Trade Association (PIN). Since April 2012 he is PIN’s President. Next to his position as a Board member of ESA, Karol is member of the ISF Board of Directors since 2006 and four years later became a member if the ISF Field Crop Section.

Karol is also Chairman of the National Organizing Committee of the ISF World Seed Congress Cracow 2015.

Jan Prasil - Member-at-Large

Jan Prasil is Czech and studied at the Faculty of Agronomy at Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry in Brno, specialising in Genetics, Plant Breeding and Production seeds. His professional career started as agronomist for production seed in Cooperative Agriculture. Since 1991 he worked as breeder of Cucurbitacea species for SEMO s.r.o., later as manager of seed production, and then he progressed in the position of General Manager SEMO a.s.

Since 2002 Jan is member of the Board of ČMŠSA (Czech and Moravian Plant Breeders and Seed Trade Association), since 2009 he is Vice-President and since 2012 President of Czech and Moravian Plant Breeders and Seed Trade Association.

He became an ESA Board member in 2013.

Joachim Schneider - Member-at-Large

Joachim Schneider was born in Bensberg, Germany, in 1956. After studying agricultural engineering at the University of Bonn, Germany, and completing his PhD in plant pathology at the University of Gießen and the University of the South Pacific in West Samoa, he started his career in Research and Development in 1984 with Bayer’s Crop Protection Business Group in Germany. Joachim was working within Bayer in different global management positions in Germany, US, UK, Japan, and China, in the fields of Crop Protection, Seeds and Traits, Strategy and Public Affairs. In 2013, Joachim became responsible for Bayer’s global Vegetable Seeds business, with its headquarters in Haelen, The Netherlands.

Since 2015 Joachim is active within Plantum, the Dutch Seed Association. He believes that ESA has a key role to play to safeguard societal acceptance for the seed industry and to create a conducive business environment for this great sector. 

Jérôme Barbaron - Member-at-Large

Jerome Barbaron is French and studied Business at the HEC in Paris and holds an MBA from INSEAD.

He has several years of experience in agrochemicals and seeds strategy planning and execution, in sales, marketing and technical operations general management at country level, and strategy formulation and execution.

He started working for Syngenta in 2004 and since 2015 he is Global Head of Cereals and Diverse Field Crops at Syngenta, in Switzerland. His previous industries experience includes pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, medical devices companies and retail.