African Agriculture Holdings announces new CEO

African Agriculture Holdings has elected to name Michael Rhodes CEO.

African Agriculture Holdings Inc (AAGR) has hired Michael Rhodes as the company’s CEO. Rhodes brings decades of operating experience in large-scale agriculture across Africa, including hands-on management of more than 16,000 hectares of productive farmland across more than eight East and West African nations.

  • Rhodes brings highly relevant farming and on-the-ground Africa operating experience including hands-on management of more than 16,000 hectares of productive farmland across eight East and West African Nations
  • Rhodes has raised more than US$1.5 billion in financing from public and private sector investors for development projects globally
  • Rhodes succeeds Alan Kessler, who will continue as chairman and CSO

Rhodes has been involved in commercial-scale farming of alfalfa and other forage crops for animal feed for more than 40 years, beginning on his family’s alfalfa farm in Utah. He brings experience implementing international best-practice standards for the growing of alfalfa and other animal feeds to farmers and ranchers across West Africa. Rhodes has also been principally involved in raising more than US$1.5 billion in financing for development projects globally from public and private sector sources.

Rhodes succeeds Alan Kessler as CEO, who successfully grew and transitioned African Agriculture from a private company through its NASDAQ listing. Kessler will continue in his role as chairman of the African Agriculture board and continue in the operational role of CSO.

“Mike brings a veritable lifetime of successful agricultural experience and leadership to African Agriculture’s core mission of becoming the premier and sustainable supplier of quality animal feeds and related agricultural products across the West African region and beyond,” Kessler said. “I look forward to working with Mike to help build this much-needed activity as a regional and global leader.”

“We expect the addition of Mike to African Agriculture’s management team will greatly strengthen and extend the commercial relationships of the company and increase our reach with institutional investors from around the world seeking to participate in the growth opportunities prevailing across the West African region.” said African Agriculture Director Russell Read, who previously led the investment teams at the California Public Employee’s Retirement System (CalPERS), the nation’s largest investment fund; the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., the United States’ largest sovereign wealth fund; and the Gulf Investment Corp., which is the development investor for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Ambassador (Ret.) Bisa Williams (former deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and current African Agriculture director), said: “African Agriculture is well positioned to make a meaningful, long-term impact on human health and development across the West African region and beyond. I am delighted to welcome Mike to help bolster the company’s capabilities and realize the full potential of African Agriculture’s worthy mission.” 

Rhodes added: “I am honored and enthusiastic about this great opportunity. I intend to bring international agricultural best practices to African Agriculture. I believe in the people of Africa and, through the company’s continuing collaboration with local communities, we can create a legacy of positive transformation. As the African proverb says, 'If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.'”

African Agriculture is a pioneering company dedicated to securing food and protein for the coming century. Born out of a global necessity, it focuses on harnessing Africa's vast agricultural potential. With 60% of the world's remaining arable land, Africa stands as a powerhouse of untapped resources, offering abundant sunshine, plentiful rain and fertile soil. African Agriculture's mission is to optimize yields and harvests, creating sustainable job opportunities for local communities while delivering significant value to its shareholders. 

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