Chief Executive Officer & Chairman Executive Board of Nutreco N.V.
Knut Nesse began his career in 1992 with the Scana Group in Stavanger, Norway, as controller and joined Skretting Norway in 1995 in the same position. In 1997, Nesse moved back to the Scana to take up a two-year assignment as finance director of the group's joint-venture in China, and then returned to Skretting in 1999, first as controller and subsequently in various management positions. In early 2006, he moved to Chile and was appointed managing director of the Skretting Salmon Feed business, returning to Norway at the end of that year. Nesse was appointed a member of the Executive Board at Nutreco in 2009. Three years later, he was appointed CEO and Chairman.
He obtained an MBA degree from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, where he subsequently attended its senior management programme.
Nutreco ambition 2020:
Facing agri-food industry challenges
Knut Nesse, CEO & Chairman of the Executive Board, Nutreco, parent company of Trouw Nutrition, spoke about the coming challenges for the agriculture sector as well as Nutreco's ambition for the near future, when he addressed the audience at the opening of Trouw Nutrition's new Calf & Beef Research Facility in April, 2016.
He touched upon industry drivers, Nutreco's unique position to steer research and innovation, and the need to bridge the technology gap between mature marketplaces and emerging markets, in order to ensure global increases in production levels in a sustainable way.
Challenges ahead for the agri-food industry
In addressing the over 300 attendees from 40 countries who represented various aspects of the global agri-food industry, Mr Nesse highlighted the challenge ahead of needing to double the food supply while halving the pressure on the planet, in order to sustainably feed the growing protein demand of the expected worldwide population of nine billion by 2050. With an additional three billion people moving into the middle class in terms of spending power in the next 20-30 years, Mr Nesse explained that people will not just demand higher amounts of animal protein, but they will, in fact, be able to afford it. Coupled with the looming issue of climate change creating supply issues for raw materials, the need for the agri-food industry to increase productivity is clear.
Additionally, Mr Nesse cited the World Health Organization's warning that if the current trend of widespread antibiotic use in food production continues, it could contribute to 20 million deaths by the year 2050. Not only did he condemn that as unethical and completely unacceptable, but Mr Nesse also called it a "game changer" for food producers. He says the obsolescence of antibiotic use underscores the need to find solutions that include genetic, nutritional and preventative health systems.
Nutreco's unique position
"Feeding the future through innovation" encapsulates both Nutreco's mission and its core value. And, as Mr Nesse explained, Nutreco is in a unique position to do just that!
Nutreco's acquisition last year by SHV, a diversified family-owned holding, has enabled it to expand its global reach and, most importantly, to increase its spending on research and development by 20% each year, doubling it to €50 million per year by 2020. According to Mr Nesse, this strong belief in both investment and the drive for innovation will enable Nutreco's over 250 research experts at 11 research centres worldwide who, collaborating with over 60 global research institutions, will develop solutions that meet and exceed the increasing demand for Nutreco's products and breakthroughs.
And what are the innovations Nutreco is currently pursuing? Following the need and desire to increase productivity in a sustainable way, Nutreco is focusing on the LifeStart philosophy, which aims to provide the best possible nutritional solutions in young animals to increase growth and productivity; health and welfare goals to strengthen the immune system (lowering the need for antibiotics) and preventative health; and, feed efficiency to spur sustainable growth and performance.
Bridging the gap
Mr Nesse pointed out that worldwide productivity of farm animals is 30% to 40% below their genetic potential. If the innovations and productivity gains that Nutreco researchers develop are only implemented in the top-producing countries, he explained, then the production demands of the growing global population will still not be met. Therefore, Nutreco is also investing in emerging markets to try to bridge the productivity gap. By promoting community engagement programs, and with LifeStart's focus of connecting the industry and knowledge sharing, Mr Nesse is confident that Nutreco research will indeed feed the future.
Watch this interview of Knut Nesse
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