SYDNEY, AUSTALIA — GrainCorp announced on Aug. 12 the appointment of Mark Palmquist, currently the executive vice-president and chief operating officer, Ag Business at CHS, as the company’s managing director and chief executive officer (CEO). Palmquist currently oversees all of CHS’s international grain-related business units and has held several leadership roles in the food and agricultural industries over a 35 year career spanning North America, South America, Europe and Asia.
GrainCorp was the subject of an acquisition by Archer Daniels Midland Co. in 2013 that was ultimately rejected by the Australian government for being “contrary to the national interest.” Shortly following the announcement of the rejection, GrainCorp’s then CEO Alison Watkins advised the board of her intention to resign as CEO to take a position as group managing director of Coca-Cola Amatil Limited. Following Watkins departure, Don Taylor, GrainCorp’s non-executive chairman assumed the role of executive chairman and acting CEO in mid-January 2014.
Following his departure from CHS on Aug. 31, Palmquist is scheduled to start at GrainCorp on Oct. 1 and will be relocating to Australia from Minnesota, U.S.
Taylor said GrainCorp’s Board was pleased to announce the appointment of Palmquist following an extensive international search. “GrainCorp’s board is delighted to have secured a candidate of such high caliber and international standing,” Taylor said. “We are confident that Mark’s skills and extensive experience will be invaluable to the ongoing growth of GrainCorp as a global agribusiness and food ingredients company. The company remains focused on building shareholder returns through the program of strategic initiatives we have been implementing since 2012. Mark brings a valuable combination of deep industry knowledge and global management experience to GrainCorp. We are all excited about working with him as he leads GrainCorp into its next phase of growth, enhances our customer offering and grows value for our investors.”
In his current position, Palmquist is responsible for all global ag-related business units including crop nutrients, grain marketing, terminal operations, exports, logistics and transportation, along with soybean processing operations and protein food operations. He joined CHS in 1979 and started out as a grain buyer, before moving into grain merchandising. There, he traded a number of commodities including corn, soybeans and spring wheat. In 1990, Palmquist was promoted to vice-president and director of the grain marketing division. In 1993, he was named senior vice-president of that area.
Since 2001, he has held a variety of leadership roles for a broad range of CHS agricultural inputs and marketing areas, retail businesses and grain-based food and food ingredients operations. Palmquist was named executive vice-president and chief operating officer in 2005 and served in his most recent role at CHS since January 2011. He serves on the board of directors of Ardent Mills and is a long standing member of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
“I have worked around the world, and GrainCorp is by any measure an outstanding company,” Palmquist said. “GrainCorp’s board, management team and people have transformed the company into a leading agribusiness with a strong international reputation. It is a privilege to be joining the company at such an exciting time.”
Palmquist will be assisted in terms of handover by Taylor from commencement, following which Taylor will resume his role as non-executive chairman. GrainCorp’s board expressed its appreciation to Taylor for his strong commitment to the company during his period as interim CEO, noting in particular the substantial progress on the regeneration of the Storage & Logistics business, the optimization of GrainCorp Oils’ processing footprint and the growth of GrainCorp Liquid Terminals.