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Ag tech acquisitions hold key to additive innovation

Incoming Novus International President and CEO Dan Meagher discusses strategy and the role investment in ag tech acquisitions will play in future growth.

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Incoming Novus International President and CEO Dan Meagher discusses strategy for the future

While attending 2020 edition of the International Processing & Production Expo (IPPE), I met with Novus International’s incoming president and CEO, Dan Meagher. Drawing from his long and varied career in the poultry and feed industries, it’s apparent he has his sights set on leading the company into the future.

Meagher, who previously served as Novus’s president of global animal nutrition solutions from 2007 to 2013, brings a clear vision for how the company will grow and bring new innovations online moving forward: strategic acquisitions.

“There is an immense amount of money now funneling into ag tech which is, in my opinion, an indication of the number of projects and technologies coming forward in concept that I think [Novus] has an opportunity to start evaluating,” he says.

Meagher aims to identify and invest in opportunities that will add value for customers and have the potential to “become a foundation for the R&D group to continue to develop new products that will make a difference in the marketplace.”

He believes this type of investment holds the most promise, as appropriate transitional acquisitions are rare.

“We’re looking for the right technologies, ones that have already been de-risked, and fit the platforms that align with our strengths – gut health, immunity, nutrition – to find the ones that compliment what we already have,” he says. “If you find the right technologies, they should be able to generate additional products and solutions to strengthen R&D so we’re a step ahead rather than investing five years to hope we hit on the right concept to go forward.”

According to Meagher, effort will be put into technology assessment and scouting.

“They’re out there, you just have to find them and accelerate them to the marketplace,” he says.

Enhancing strengths

Meagher believes the company’s HMTBa molecule, the foundation of the company’s core product lines, can be enhanced by these new technologies with “immediate impacts in the eubiotics area.”

“I still think enzymes are an immature market from a standpoint that there are still a lot of opportunities with dosing levels and on blends and different things as they relate to gut health, immunity and digestibility,” he says.

In his new role, he plans to review the company’s existing portfolio to evaluate and shed areas that are not strategic or enhance the company’s strengths.

Drawing from experience

Among his other goals, Meagher plans to align the leadership team’s goals to prepare for the future and instill a “culture of entrepreneurial flair.”

“When you have a change in leadership, it’s an opportunity to ensure there’s clarity about the importance of the future, where we’re going and the role that the employees play,” he says.

Most recently, Meagher was the president and CEO of animal nutrition and health company Agrivida Inc. He has also served in executive management positions with egg producer Moark LLC, startup MBA Poultry LLC and in various positions with Purina Mills.

Novus’s current president and CEO François Fraudeau is retiring after 28 years.

Meagher officially assumes his new position in April 2020.

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