Executive Board Group Photo

Executive Board

The Executive Board is the principal decision-making body of the Crop Trust.

The Board normally meets twice each year.
Members of the Executive Board are appointed by key Crop Trust stakeholders:

  • 4 members appointed by the Governing Body of the Plant Treaty, at least two from developing countries
  • 4 members appointed by the Donors’ Council of the Crop Trust
  • 1 non-voting member appointed by the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization
  • 1 non-voting member appointed by the Chair of CGIAR
  • 2 members appointed by the Board itself
  • The Executive Director of the Crop Trust, ex officio.

The Executive Board ensures that:

  • The policies of the Crop Trust are in line with its mission, including support for the Plant Treaty and the overall policy guidance provided by its Governing Body, and are consistent with the aims of the Global Plan of Action;
  • The Crop Trust is managed effectively by the Executive Director in harmony with the agreed objectives, programs and budgets, in accordance with legal and 
regulatory requirements; and
  • The future well being of the Crop Trust is not jeopardized by exposing its financial
resources, its staff or its credibility to imprudent risks.

In order to ensure these qualities the Crop Trust’s Executive Board is responsible for approving:

  • The appointment of the Executive Director;
  • The annual programmatic work and budget of the Crop Trust;
  • The annual report;
  • The Fundraising Strategy; and
  • Different policies and regulations to ensure fiscal and operational efficiency, accountability and integrity.

For the full details on the responsibilities of the Executive Board, please see the Crop Trust’s Crop Trust Constitution.

  • Executive Board Members

    • Walter Fust

      Chair of the Executive Board

      After his studies in public administration/international relations at the University of St. Gallen, Ambassador Fust commenced his diplomatic career serving at the Swiss Embassy in Geneva, Baghdad and Tokyo.

      He subsequently assumed various functions in the Federal Administration and in the private sector, including the role of personal assistant to the President of the Confederation.

      He was then Managing Director of the Swiss Trade Promotion Office (OSEC) and Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior (Research, Environment, Culture, Health etc.).

      Ambassador Fust headed the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) for 15 years. Since his retirement, he has held mandates in the UN (Broadband Commission ITU/UNESCO, Committee of Experts on Public Administration).

      He furthermore serves on the Board of a number of international institutions (Coalition for a Dialog on Africa (CoDA); International Risk Governance Council (IRGC); Library of Alexandria) in addition to Philanthropy Foundations and Funding Funds.

      Ambassador Fust served as a member of the Interim Panel of Eminent Experts, which acted as the interim Board of the Global Crop Diversity Trust prior to the establishment of the Executive Board.

      Ambassador Fust has been a member of the Executive Board of the Crop Trust since 2010.

      He is also a member of the Finance and Investment Committee.


    • Timothy Andrew Fischer

      Vice-Chair of the Executive Board

      Ambassador Timothy Andrew Fischer served in the New South Wales Parliament (1971-84) and the Australian Federal Parliament (1984-2001) including as Leader of the National Party, Minister for Trade and Deputy Prime Minister (1996-99).

      He was also Leader of the Official Australian Delegation which oversaw the ballot held on 30 August 1999 in East Timor.

      More recently, he was appointed Ambassador to the Holy See (2008 – 2012).

      Prior to that, he was Chairman of Tourism Australia 2004-07, and of the Australia Thailand Institute 2005-08. He was Chairman of the Crawford Fund helping to host key conferences in Australia to provide outreach on agricultural topics.

      In 2005 Tim Fischer was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia.



    • Marie Haga

      Ex Officio, Executive Director

      Marie Haga joined the Global Crop Diversity Trust as Executive Director in March 2013. She had previously been member and Deputy Chair of the Global Crop Diversity Trust Executive Board.

      Ms. Haga has a background from Foreign Service as a career diplomat, from politics and private sector. She has held various positions in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affaires including to the Norwegian Mission to the United Nations in New York and the Embassy in New Delhi.

      She was politically appointed and held the position as State Secretary/Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affaires 1997-1999. Ms. Haga has wide experience from politics and served as a Member of Parliament in Norway from 2001-2009. She was political advisor to the Minister for Development Cooperation from 1997-1998. She was Chairperson of the Centre Party from 2003-2008.

      Ms. Haga has held three Ministerial positions: Minister of Cultural Affairs (1999-2000), Minister of Local Government and Regional Development (2005-2007) and Minister of Petroleum and Energy (2007-2008).

      Marie Haga has held the position as Director for Renewable Energy in the Federation of Norwegian Industries (2009-2011) and as Secretary General of the Norwegian Air Ambulance (2011-2013) – the biggest voluntary organization in Norway. Ms. Haga has been on several boards, including as Chair of the Governing Board of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) (2009-2013) and Chair of the Governing Board of the Industrial Development Corporation of Norway (2010-2013) Marie Haga has also published three books – one novel and two on Norwegian politics.



    • Sir Peter Crane

      Executive Board Member

      Sir Peter Crane is the Carl W. Knobloch Jr. Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University.

      His work focuses on the diversity of plant life – its origin, fossil history, current status, conservation and use.  From 1982 to 1999 he was at the Field Museum in Chicago, and from 1992 to 1999 served as Director with overall responsibility for the Museum’s scientific programmes.

      From 1999 to 2006 he was Director of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, one of the largest, most prestigious and influential botanical gardens in the world.

      He returned to Chicago in 2006 as the John and Marion Sullivan University Professor at The University of Chicago, before being appointed at Yale in 2009.

      Peter Crane was elected to the Royal Society – the UK academy of sciences – in 1998 and was knighted in the UK for services to horticulture and conservation in 2004.

      He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and a Member of the German Academy Leopoldina.

      He is the recipient of several honorary degrees, including an honorary doctorate of science from Cambridge University, and currently serves on the Board of the Chicago Botanic Garden, The Field Museum, The Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas, WWF-US and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.


    • Professor Gebisa Ejeta

      Executive Board Member

      Professor Ejeta is Distinguished Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics and International Agriculture and serves as Executive Director of the Center for Global Food Security at Purdue University.

      Gebisa has been a member of the faculty of Purdue University since 1984. His career has been devoted to education, research, and international development with contributions in human and institutional capacity building, in technology development and transfer, as well as in advocacy for science in support of the cause of the poor.

      Professor Ejeta has served in advisory roles to several international development agencies. He currently serves on the boards of the Chicago Council for Global Affairs’ Global Agricultural Development Initiative (GADI), the National Academy of Sciences Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR), and the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).

      Professor Ejeta has served the United States Government in several capacities, including as Special Advisor to the USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, as Science Envoy of the U.S. State Department, before being appointed by President Obama as member of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) in 2010.

      The 2009 World Food Prize Laureate and a recipient of a national medal of honor from the President of Ethiopia, Ejeta is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the American Society of Agronomy, and the Crop Science Society of America.


    • Dr. Prem Lal Gautam

      Executive Board Member

      Dr. Gautam is currently the Vice Chancellor of Career Point University, Hamirpur (Himachal Pradesh) India. Dr. Gautam has served in different positions in India, including Chairperson, Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights Authority (2010–2012); Chairman, National Biodiversity Authority (2008 -10); Deputy Director General, Crop Science, ICAR (2007-2008): Vice Chancellor G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar (2002-2007); National Director, National Agricultural Technology Project, ICAR (2000-2002); Director, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources ICAR (1997-2000); and Dean, College of Forestry, YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan (1991-1997).

      He is Fellow of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences and has served as Past President of Indian Society of Genetics & Plant Breeding and Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources.

      He was Vicechair, Bureau of 5th Session of International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources.


    • Dr. Mauricio Lopes

      Executive Board Member

      Dr. Mauricio Lopes is the President of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation – Embrapa.

      A plant geneticist by training, he received his BSc degree in Agronomy (1983) from the Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil, his MS degree in Plant Genetics (1989) from Purdue University, Indiana, USA and his PhD in Molecular Biology (1993) from the University of Arizona, Tucson, USA. He was leader of the Maize Breeding Program at the Embrapa Maize and Sorghum Center, and Head of Research and Development of the Maize and Sorghum Center, the Genetic Resources and Biotechnology Center, and the Department of R&D of Embrapa.

      He was responsible for the coordination of the process that led to the development and implementation of Embrapa´s current R&D Management System.

      Mauricio was also visiting scientist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO, in Rome, member of the Scientific Council of Agropolis Foundation, in Montpellier, France, and coordinator of Labex Korea, an international cooperation program of Embrapa in South Korea.

      He was the Executive Director of Research of Development of Embrapa until October 2012, when he became the President of the Organization.


    • Alexander Müller

      Executive Board Member

      Alexander Müller received a diploma in sociology at the Philipps University in Marburg in 1985. He was elected as city councilor in Marburg (1985 -1992) with the responsibility for social and environmental affairs and was chair of the board of the municipal utilities (electricity, natural gas, water and public transport). From 1992 to 1995 he was appointed as state secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Family Affairs and Health in the state of Hesse. From 1995 to 2000 he was member of the parliament of Hessen and served inter alia as chair of the caucus and member of the budget committee. From 2001 to 2005 he was State Secretary in the Ministry for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture in the Federal Republic of Germany. From 2006 until June 2013 he served as Assistant-Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and was responsible for the Department for Natural Resources and Environment. The Secretary-General of the UN nominated him as a member of the Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC) in June 2009 to advise him on the energy-related dimensions of the climate change negotiations. From 2008 to 2011 he was chair of the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN). May 2013 until Oct. 2014 he was Senior Fellow in the cluster Global Contract for Sustainability of the IASS working on governance of sustainability, with a focus on soils and its role in the Nexus of Water, Food and Energy and on the German Energiewende. He was also appointed as study leader of the UNEP project “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Agriculture and Food” (TEEB AG and Food).


    • Dr. Mary Ann P. Sayoc

      Executive Board Member

      Dr. Mary Ann P. Sayoc is the General Manager of East-West Seed Company, Inc., Philippines. She has a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of the Philippines and MBA units from the Ateneo de Manila University.

      Prior to her appointment as General Manager of East-West Seed Company in November 2000, she held the position of Regional Director of the Department of Agriculture. She was responsible for the implementation of agriculture programs and projects covering crops, livestock, fisheries, irrigation, farm mechanization, farm-to-market roads and agriculture extension and training in Southern Luzon, which is composed of eleven provinces including Metro Manila, 224 municipalities and 11 cities.

      As Regional Director of the Department of Agriculture, she was a member of the Board of Trustees of five state colleges/universities.

      She also held the position of Executive Director of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), the training arm of the Department of Agriculture.


    • Knut Storberget

      Executive Board Member

      Biography to be shared shortly.


    • Dr. Ren Wang

      United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation

      Dr. Ren Wang serves as the Assistant Director-General, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Dr. Wang was appointed to the Crop Trust’s Executive Board by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Dr. Wang held the post of Deputy Director of Programme Development at the International Institute of Biological Control at the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International in the United Kingdom. From 1995 through 2000 and again in 2010 he was appointed Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS).  Mr Wang also held the position of Deputy Director-General for Research for the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines from 2000 to 2007 and was later named as the Director of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) at the World Bank from July 2007 to October 2010.



  • Former Executive Board Members

    • Margaret Catley-Carlson

      Member From 2007-2012

      Margaret Catley-Carlson served as the Chair of the Crop Trust’s Executive Board. Chair of the Global Water Partnership, and the International Advisory Committee for Group Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, Ms. Catley-Carlson is a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board, the Rosenberg Forum, and of the Council of Advisors of the World Food Prize. She serves on the Boards of the Biblioteca Alexandrina, IMWI (the International Center for Water Resource Management); the IFDC (Fertilizer Management) and IIED (the International Institute for Environment and Development). She has been chair of the ICARDA and CABI Boards and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, Vice Chair of the IDRC Board and a commissioner of Water for the 21st Century. She was President of the Canadian International Development Agency 1983-89; Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF in New York 1981-1983; President of the Population Council in New York 1993-98; and Deputy Minister of the Department of Health and Welfare of Canada 1989-92. Ms. Catley-Carlson is an Officer of the Order of Canada.


    • Cary Fowler

      Former Executive Director 2007-2012

      Prior to joining the Crop Trust as its Executive Director, Dr. Cary Fowler was Professor and Director of Research in the Department for International Environment & Development Studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. He was also a Senior Advisor to the Director General of Bioversity International. In this latter role, he represented the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in negotiations on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

      In the 1990s, he headed the International Conference and Programme on Plant Genetic Resources at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which produced the UN’s first ever global assessment of the state of the world’s plant genetic resources. He drafted and supervised negotiations of FAO’s Global Plan of Action for Plant Genetic Resources, adopted by 150 countries in 1996. That same year he served as Special Assistant to the Secretary General of the World Food Summit.  He is a past-member of the National Plant Genetic Resources Board of the U.S. and the Board of Trustees of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico, and is currently Chair of the International Advisory Council of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. He holds a position as Associate Curator at the Memphis City Family of Museums.

      In 2010, the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences awarded him the Vavilov Medal for his “exceptional contribution” to the cause of conserving plant genetic resources for present and future generations. He also received a 2010 Heinz Award for his “vision and efforts in the preservation of the world’s food supply”.


    • Jorio Dauster

      Member From 2007-2010

      Ambassador Jorio Dauster is the Board Chairman of Brasil Ecodiesel. He is a former Ambassador of Brazil to the European Union, and Chief Negotiator of Brazil’s foreign debt for the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Finance. Ambassador Dauster has also served as President of the Brazilian Coffee Institute and as Coordinator of the Project for the Modernization of Brazil’s Patent System.


    • Adel El-Beltagy

      Member From 2007-2011

      Prof. Dr. Adel El-Beltagy is currently the Chair of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR). He was Chairman of the International Dryland Development Commission (IDDC) and Professor at the Faculty of Agriculture/Ain Shams University He was Director General of the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) (1995-2006); Director/Board Chairman of Agricultural Research Center, Egypt (1991-1995); Fellow of the University of Wales (1993); Chairman for the Scientific Technical Council of the International SAHARA and SAHEL OBSERVATORY (SSO) (1993-2002); First Under-Secretary of State for Land Reclamation, Egypt (1986-1991); Foreign Member of the Russian academy of Agricultural Sciences, Moscow; Academician (Foreign Member) of the Tajik Academy of Agricultural Sciences; and Honorable Academician of Kyrgyz Agrarian Academy. Dr. El-Beltagy is Honorable Professor of the Scientific Council of Azerbaijan Agricultural Academy; Fellow of Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and has been awarded Al-Istiklal Medal by His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Hussein of Jordan. He has authored/co-authored more than 140 scientific publications.


    • Emile Frison

      Member From 2009-2013

      Dr. Emile Frison is the former Director General of Bioversity International. A plant pathologist by training, Dr. Frison served as a Senior Scientist with Bioversity where he held special responsibility for the health of samples of crop diversity. He then served as Director of Bioversity’s regional office for Europe and, until his appointment to the top position at Bioversity, was Director of the organization’s International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain in Montpellier, France, promoting research on bananas and plantains, the world’s fourth most important staple crop. As Director General of Bioversity, Dr. Frison recently lead the organization, its stakeholders and partners in the formulation of a new strategic vision for Bioversity, in which nutrition and agricultural biodiversity will play an important role in the overall goal of reducing hunger and poverty in a sustainable manner. He is author and co-author of over 150 scientific publications and is a member of several scientific societies.


    • John Lovett

      Member From 2007-2012

      Professor John Lovett is the Chairperson of the Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity, Australia. He has held professorships at the University of Tasmania and the University of New England, of which he now is a Professor Emeritus. Professor Lovett previously served as Chairperson of the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting and of the Oilseeds Research Council, as Managing Director of the Grains Research and Development Cooperation and as President of the Australian Society of Agronomy.


    • Wangari Maathai

      Member From 2007-2011

      Professor Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. She was the founder of the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots environmental organization that has assisted women and their families in planting more than 35 million trees across Kenya to protect the environment and promote sustainable livelihoods. She was a Member of Parliament and a former Assistant Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya. Among the many honors and awards Wangari Maathai has received are the Right Livelihood Award (1984); the Global 500 Roll of Honor (1991); the Goldman Environmental Prize (1991); the Africa Prize (1991); the Edinburgh Medal (1993); the Sophie Prize (2004) and the Legion d’Honneur (2006).

      It is with great sadness that we learned of Professor Wangari Maathai’s passing on 25 September 2011. We are immensely grateful for her dedication and commitment to our cause, for which she found space in a life full of important works.


    • Ibrahim Assane Mayaki

      Member From 2011-2013

      Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) functioning as the Interim African Union (AU) Office in South Africa, headquartered in Midrand, South Africa.

      Dr. Mayaki served as Prime Minister of Niger (1997-1999), which followed his appointment as Foreign Minister of Niger between 1996-1997. In January 1996, he also served as a Ministerial Delegate in charge of the African Integration and Cooperation. In August 2000, he set up the Analysis Centre for Public Policy. In 2004, he served as the Executive Director of the Platform in support for Rural Development in West and Central Africa, the Rural Hub, based in Dakar Senegal.


    • Karl Erik Olsson

      Member From 2007-2010

      Mr. Olsson was the Minister of Agriculture in Sweden, a member of Parliament, and a member of the European Parliament.


    • Dr. Shivaji Pandey

      Member From 2007-2009

      Dr. Pandey worked for over 30 years in international agricultural research and development, serving as a scientist, regional representative for South America, Director of Maize Program and Director of African Livelihoods Program at CIMMYT. In 2005 Dr. Pandey joined the UN FAO as Director of Agricultural Support Systems Division and was appointed Director of the Plant Production and Protection Division in 2006.


    • Dr. Mangala Rai

      Member From 2007-2009

      Dr. Rai was the Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Dr. Rai also served on the Executive Board of CIMMYT, ICRISAT, and served on the Executive Council of the CGIAR. In 2008, Dr. Rai was elected as President of the prestigious National Academy of Agricultural Sciences in India for a term of three years.


    • Roberto Rodrigues

      Member From 2011-2013

      Roberto Rodrigues has served as Brazilian Minister of Agriculture (2003-2006), Co-chairman of the Interamerican Ethanol Commission (IEC), Coordinator of the Getulio Vargas Foundation Agrobusiness Center (GV Agro) as well as President of the Superior Agriculture Council of São Paulo’s Federation of Industries (FIESP). He is an agricultural producer and an agricultural engineer by training and is also a Professor (currently on leave), holding the Chair of Rural Economics at the São Paulo State University in Jaboticabal.

      A strong supporter of the cooperative movement, Minister Rodrigues chaired the Brazilian Cooperatives Organization, the World Committee on Agricultural Cooperatives and the International Cooperative Alliance. He has traveled the world in that capacity, visiting 80 countries while performing his duties.

      A well-known agribusiness leader, Roberto Rodrigues served as President of the prestigious Brazilian Rural Society and the Brazilian Agribusiness Association. He is also a member of the boards of dozens of Brazilian producer’s associations. In that capacity, Minister Rodrigues represented the Brazilian agribusiness sector in several advisory committees established by the Government, such as the National Agricultural Policy Council, the National Monetary Council, and the National Foreign Trade Council. He also chaired the National Agribusiness Forum.


    • Modibo Tiémoko Traoré

      Member From 2009-2011

      Dr. Modibo Tiémoko Traoré, a former Minister for Rural Development with the Government of Mali, was the FAO Assistant Director-General charged with the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department. He joined FAO as Regional Representative for Africa after heading the African Union’s Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources for three years. A veterinarian and livestock expert, Dr. Traoré was also Mali’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China between 2000 and 2005. Mr Traoré, a former National Director of Mali’s Livestock and Veterinary Services was his country’s Minister for Rural Development (Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries) between 1994 and 2000, and also held responsibility for the Environment and Water Resources.