Seed World

How do you Rebuild a Corporate Culture? Ask Chris Churko


The role of the modern CEO has evolved to encompass a wide range of responsibilities that extend beyond traditional business functions. A CEO is now expected to be a visionary, a crisis manager, an innovator and a leader. Seed World Canada has selected six CEOs for our list of the top boardroom leaders of the year. Here’s the fifth entry.

In the world of corporate leadership, Chris Churko stands out not just for his professional acumen but for the depth of his character and the unique blend of interests that shape his leadership style. As the CEO of FP Genetics, Churko has made a significant impact on the seed industry.

FP Genetics has enjoyed remarkable achievements and significant transformations over the last few years. Of them all, Churko emphasizes the rebuilding the corporate culture at FP Genetics is one of the most significant changes of all. He highlights the shift to a relentless pursuit of growth and improvement within the organization.

“During COVID, we experienced some significant changes in our team structure. It provided us with a unique opportunity to put people in roles that they were truly ready for: ready to take on the next challenge,” he says.

“Today, what we have is a team that’s incredibly motivated, no matter where they are in the organization. They come to work with enthusiasm, eager to collaborate. They’re genuinely committed to each other’s success, and it’s not just about individual achievements; it’s about teamwork. This shift has been a game-changer for us.”

During that same period, FP made a complete reinvestment in its portfolio, particularly its retail arm, which essentially is made up of shareholders.

“We started sharing with them more about our goals and where we wanted to take the company. It’s been a transformative shift, and we’re beginning to see the positive outcomes of this reinvestment, not only for us but also for our ownership group.”

He acknowledges the importance of patience as many leadership decisions take time to bear fruit in the seed industry.

“It’s like a massive chess game. You move a piece, but you wait a long time until you see if that was the right decision,” he says.

Looking ahead, Churko hints at the future direction of FP Genetics, mentioning their international expansion and increasing activities in the U.S. and Europe. He acknowledges the importance of maximizing its core business in Western Canada before expanding further.

Qualifications as a Top CEO:

  1. He can see down the road. Churko’s ability to envision the transformation of FP Genetics and its corporate culture is a testament to his visionary leadership. A CEO must have the foresight to see beyond the status quo and inspire their team to strive for continuous growth and improvement.
  2. He can adapt in times of crisis. Churko’s adept handling of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic showcases his adaptability. He can navigate through crises with poise, ensuring that the organization remains resilient while addressing the needs and concerns of the team.
  3. He plays the long game. Churko’s analogy of a “massive chess game” underscores the patience required in leadership. He understands that some decisions take time to yield results and he remains persistent in pursuing the organization’s goals, even when the outcomes are not immediate.