Seed World

Arcadia Biosciences Announces Management Succession

Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. announced that Raj Ketkar, president and CEO, will retire effective September 1, 2019. In line with its succession plan, the board has appointed Matthew Plavan to chief executive officer and member of the board of directors. Plavan is succeeded by Pam Haley as Arcadia’s new chief financial officer.

“I am thankful to the board and the team at Arcadia for their support during my tenure at Arcadia,” says Ketkar. “I wish Arcadia the best in its journey to continued success.”

“I personally, and on behalf of the Board, want to thank Raj for his leadership at Arcadia,” says Kevin Comcowich, chairman of the board. “Raj has built a strong executive team and robust commercial capabilities, leaving Arcadia well positioned to execute the commercialization of our product portfolio.”

“We are pleased to welcome Raj’s successor, Matt Plavan, to the board and appoint him CEO of Arcadia. During his tenure with the company, Matt has proven to be a strong, dynamic and innovative leader,” Comcowich says. “We are confident he is the right person to lead this next phase of Arcadia’s transition from an R&D focused company to one with growing commercial sales.”

Since joining the company in 2016 as chief financial officer, Plavan has played an instrumental role in shifting the company’s focus towards crop innovation and commercialization. In February, he was named president of Arcadia’s new strategic business unit devoted to hemp, Arcadia Specialty Genomics.

Plavan is an accomplished senior executive with more than 30 years of successful leadership experience in public and private companies within the ag-tech, cell-therapy and healthcare industries. Prior to joining Arcadia in 2016, he served as CEO and board member at Cesca Therapeutics. Plavan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics from University of California at Santa Barbara and is a certified public accountant.

“I am grateful to the board for this opportunity and honored to lead such an exceptional organization of scientists, strategists and innovators,” says Plavan. “I look forward to working with this talented team to achieve large-scale commercialization of our signature nutritional ingredient, GoodWheatTM, and accelerate our vertically-integrated hemp seed, cultivation and extraction operations in Hawaii and other legal U.S. markets.

“Our commercial progress thus far in 2019, punctuated by our Arista wheat collaboration announced today, has illuminated our path to new revenue generation. With global distribution channels set for our flagship GoodWheat ingredient— high fiber resistant starch wheat—and our acquired experience with hemp in the lab, the field and in the product markets, we now have a clearer view on the timing and scale of incoming revenues. In fact, we believe these revenues are imminent and could scale significantly from our current levels.

“As a result, we can with confidence provide our investors financial guidance to better align market expectations for growth and value creation at Arcadia,” Plavan says. “Specifically, in 2020 and 2021, we expect total revenues will exceed $10 million and $30 million, respectively. And, with this revenue trajectory, we expect to begin generating net cash from operations in mid-to-late 2021.

“We are aligned around a single-minded focus: profitable growth. We look forward to reporting our key milestone achievements in the lab, in the field and in the commercial markets as we progress towards accomplishing these financial goals,” Plavan concludes.

Plavan’s successor as chief financial officer, Pam Haley, joined Arcadia as accounting manager in 2005 and has held several key positions, most recently controller. Haley brings more than 25 years of financial and accounting experience and previously worked in the telecommunications and semiconductor industries, in addition to public accounting, prior to joining Arcadia. She is a certified public accountant and a graduate of the University of Arizona where she earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting.