DENVER, COLORADO, U.S. — Mark Ripato will take over as president of the Agribusiness division of Wilbur-Ellis Company, LLC beginning Nov. 1. Ripato for the past three years has been chief executive officer and president of Tenkoz, an agricultural buying group of which Wilbur-Ellis is the largest retail member, based in Alpharetta, Georgia, U.S.
“Mark is a longtime agricultural executive with deep and direct exposure into many relevant areas within the ag industry,” said John Buckley, president and CEO of Wilbur-Ellis. “In his roles at Tenkoz, Mark has demonstrated his ability to rapidly take on increasing levels of responsibility in a large, complex and well-respected organization. We will benefit from his deep knowledge of the agriculture supply chain and Mark's unique insights into the industry transformation.”
Ripato has both industry background and advanced education in agricultural economics. He grew up on a farm and worked in an agricultural retail store in northeastern Kentucky where he learned about all segments of the ag retail trade. In 1988, Ripato received a bachelor of science degree in agricultural economics from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky, U.S. Later, he received an MBA from Salisbury State University in Salisbury, Maryland, U.S., and an international master of management degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
Ripato began his career as a flock supervisor at Perdue Farms. After that, he worked for ICI Agricultural Products, which later became Syngenta, where he gained experience managing various chemistry portfolios, integrating them with the introduction of new seed and trait platforms.
“Wilbur-Ellis Company’s legacy has demonstrated its deep, multi-generational commitment to agriculture,” Ripato said. “Its determination to adapt and prevail during these turbulent times in our industry confirms Wilbur-Ellis’ resolve to continue to support the future success of the American farmer.”
Dan Vradenburg, Wilbur-Ellis’ current Agribusiness president, soon will transition to the role of board chair for Wilbur-Ellis' venture capital arm, Cavallo Ventures.
“I first met Mark 15 years ago when he joined Tenkoz and have had the opportunity to work with him on several Tenkoz and industry issues,” Vradenburg said “I am proud to be succeeded by Mark; he has tremendous respect for our leadership team and I am confident he’ll lead Agribusiness to new levels.”
Ripato will be based out of Wilbur-Ellis' Agribusiness headquarters in Denver, Colorado.
“I’m excited to be a part of a company with such a vibrant culture, led by a tested, proven and successful leadership team,” Ripato said. “I look forward to supporting Wilbur-Ellis’ efforts in making a great company even greater.”
Founded in 1921, the Wilbur-Ellis companies are international marketers and distributors of agricultural products, animal feed and specialty chemicals and ingredients. Wilbur-Ellis companies have continued to grow the business with sales now over $3 billion.
Its agribusiness segment generates more than $2 billion in sales revenue annually and has over 160 branch locations throughout the United States.