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Verdesian’s new CEO says business now in a period of recovery

Clare Doyle, an executive with over 35 years of experience in electronics, specialty chemicals, and building materials, joined the team in August.

John Hart

November 29, 2023

4 Min Read
Clare Doyle
Clare Doyle has served as CEO of Verdesian since August. Verdesian

At a Glance

  • Clare Doyle became Verdesian's new CEO in August.
  • Doyle aims to help Verdesian raise awareness and provide knowledge on crop nutrition product usage.

Verdesian Life Sciences has brought on a new CEO to help forge its path coming out of a challenging time for both the company and the crop nutrient market. 

In August, Clare Doyle, an executive with more than 35 years of experience in the electronics, specialty chemicals, and building materials sectors, joined Verdesian, a leading nutrient-use efficiency company founded in 2012 and headquartered in Cary, NC. 

In an interview with Southeast Farm Press, Doyle said the industry is having a tough time right now, but she remains optimistic for the future because of strong demand for nutrient-use, efficiency products. She said her top goal is to get the business back in better financial shape. 

Staying optimistic 

She said the overriding challenge facing Verdesian and other crop nutrient companies following the pandemic was incredibly high inventory built throughout the supply channel at a time when input and transportation costs were high. She said all of this, along with the low cost of money, led to high inventory evaluations. 

“Trying to move that through is a little like catching a knife. Prices start to fall; demand starts to fall. The industry gets a little bit off balance. At its core, Verdesian got into trouble, which led to these series of changes that happened, forcing too much material through the channel,” Doyle said. 

Following COVID, as shipments tightened, material supplies followed suit. Ports became congested. Materials did not flow as well as they once did. 

“From a grower perspective, what they easily got from their retailer, their distribution channel, suddenly got to be hard to get so they started to worry. They placed multiple orders on multiple retailers and multiple outlets,” Doyle explained. 

She said this led crop nutrient companies to believe that demand was growing, not realizing that it was most likely duplicate demand, not new demand. They then placed this demand back on the supply channel. 

“Suppliers and distributors said ‘Oh, great everything is wonderful. Look at this booming business that we have.’ They started to feed into that. Once it happens so far down the chain by the time the primary suppliers realize it, they’re choking on all the demand,” she said. 

Doyle emphasized that challenges are transitory in nature, not fundamental. They were due to an oversupply of product, rather than lowered demand. She said recovery is a process and the crop nutrition business is now in a period of recovery. She said the good news is that demand remains strong. 

Challenges in the market 

Doyle said one of the biggest challenges for Verdesian is raising awareness and providing knowledge on how to use their products as part of a crop nutrition strategy. It’s a challenge because when famers are successful with one approach, they are resistant to change. 

“We are a change, and we are a beneficial change. Sometimes that is triggered by an adverse condition. Certainly, when you think about climate change, too much water, not enough water, too hot, too cold, those are stressful to the plant and make for tougher growing conditions. Some of those triggers are exactly why people look to companies like Verdesian for the products that we offer to enable the plants to grow in those stressful environments,” she said. 

Doyle replaced interim CEO Fred Lynch, who served in the position for five months. Lynch had replaced Kenneth Avery, who served as Verdesian’s CEO since September 2016. Lynch now becomes board chairman of Verdesian. 

Prior to joining Verdesian, Doyle was chief sustainability officer for Masonite International, a position she held since October 2021. Before that, she held other leadership roles, including her time as senior vice president and general manager for Masonite Europe. She joined Masonite in 2016 as senior vice president and business leader-components. Doyle earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tulane University and an MBA from Columbia University. 

About the Author(s)

John Hart

Associate Editor, Southeast Farm Press

John Hart is associate editor of Southeast Farm Press, responsible for coverage in the Carolinas and Virginia. He is based in Raleigh, N.C.

Prior to joining Southeast Farm Press, John was director of news services for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C. He also has experience as an energy journalist. For nine years, John was the owner, editor and publisher of The Rice World, a monthly publication serving the U.S. rice industry.  John also worked in public relations for the USA Rice Council in Houston, Texas and the Cotton Board in Memphis, Tenn. He also has experience as a farm and general assignments reporter for the Monroe, La. News-Star.

John is a native of Lake Charles, La. and is a  graduate of the LSU School of Journalism in Baton Rouge.  At LSU, he served on the staff of The Daily Reveille.

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