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Kathy L. Fortmann Spearheads Pioneering Strand in Synthetic Biology as New Amyris CEO

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Benjamin Hughes

May 7, 2024 - 20:58 pm

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Kathy L. Fortmann Takes Helm as CEO of Pioneering Synthetic Biology Firm Amyris

EMERYVILLE, Calif., May 7, 2024 – Amyris, Inc., an innovative leader in the synthetic biology industry known for its sustainable and advanced market-ready ingredients, announced a pivotal leadership change today. Kathy L. Fortmann has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Amyris, effective immediately, following a reorganization that marks a significant transition for the company.

A New Chapter: Kathy L. Fortmann at the Forefront

Kathy L. Fortmann brings a wealth of global business acumen to her new role as CEO, drawing from an impressive 35-year career spanning various industries, most notably specialty chemicals, and food ingredients. Most recently, Fortmann excelled as the CEO of ACOMO N.V., a listed company in the Netherlands specializing in both conventional and organic niche food products and specialty ingredients catering to the food and beverage sector. This role, which she held from 2021 to 2023, emphasized her ability to steer a business towards success in highly competitive markets.

Prior to her tenure with ACOMO N.V., Fortmann was deeply integrated into the operations of International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF), a trailblazer in the flavour and fragrance sector. From 2020 to 2021, she held numerous strategic positions including Division President of Nourish, Division Chief Executive Officer, Taste, and Head of Taste Strategy and Cross Fertilization. These roles allowed her to leverage synergy across divisions to foster innovation and strategic growth.

Fortmann's extensive experience also includes a meaningful period at FrieslandCampina, one of Europe's major dairy cooperatives, where she served on the Executive Committee and President of the Business Group, Ingredients. Moreover, leading up to this role, she had an enduring career with Cargill, Incorporated, a preeminent provider of food, agriculture, financial, and industrial products and services globally. From 2005 until 2017, she undertook several leadership positions refining her strategic decision-making skills and industry insight.

Before her tenure with Cargill, Kathy L. Fortmann cut her professional teeth at E.I. DuPont de Nemours, Inc., where she began in 1989 and ascended through increasing levels of responsibility, inculcating a strong foundation in leadership and industry expertise.

Kathy L. Fortmann's Board Roles and Perspectives

Complementing her executive duties, Ms. Fortmann serves on the boards of two distinguished corporations. She contributes her strategic insight to FMC Corporation, a global leader in agricultural sciences, currently contributing to critical advancements in sustainable farming. Furthermore, she holds a board position at PPG Industries, a multinational supplier of paints and specialty materials, where her governance helps guide global strategic initiatives.

Embracing her new position, Ms. Fortmann stated, "I have always held Amyris' cutting-edge science, technology capabilities, and its impressive array of products and R&D portfolio in high regard. I am thrilled at the prospect of guiding the company into a new era filled with innovation and robust growth. Collaborating with the Board and the talented Amyris team, I anticipate significant strides in our strategy and execution going forward."

Strategic Leadership Expansion at Amyris

The executive team at Amyris welcomes Kathy L. Fortmann with open arms as she takes on the role of CEO. In partnership with strategic leaders like Scott White, John Doerr, and Ryan Panchadsaram, this appointment is set to strengthen the company's pioneering edge in the synthetic biology market.

In the midst of these exciting developments, Han Kieftenbeld, Amyris' Chief Financial Officer since March 2020 and interim CEO since June 2023, has decided to part ways with the company to explore new ventures. His time at Amyris was marked by a steadfast commitment to the company’s financial stability and growth, and his decision to pursue other opportunities is respected by the entire team at Amyris.

About Amyris: A Beacon of Sustainable Innovation

Amyris stands as a testament to the transformative power of synthetic biology. For over two decades, the company has harnessed its proprietary advanced precision fermentation technology and world-class platforms to create sustainable, market-ready ingredients. It's this confluence of experience and innovation that has made Amyris a collaborative partner of choice for companies eager to co-create breakthrough ingredients quickly and on a vast scale.

This not only furthers partners' ability to deliver products that surpass performance expectations but also aligns with overarching sustainability and economic objectives. Amyris is proud that its renewable and traceable ingredients have reached over 300 million consumers worldwide, integrated within more than 20,000 products from leading global brands.

For those interested in learning more about Amyris, its mission, and its products, you are encouraged to visit their website at http://www.amyris.com.

The Future of Synthetic Biology and Amyris

Under the aegis of Kathy L. Fortmann's veteran leadership, Amyris is poised to scale new heights in the realm of synthetic biology. The company's prowess in leveraging advanced biotechnologies to produce sustainable ingredients speaks to an underlying commitment to environmental stewardship and societal well-being. Amyris' ingredients play a pivotal role in reducing the environmental footprint of products across various sectors including cosmetics, nutrition, health, and pharmaceuticals.

Industry and Consumer Impact

The synthetic biology field is acutely aware of the need for sustainability and less dependency on non-renewable resources. Amyris addresses this need head-on with its biotechnology solutions, effectively creating an economic and ecological ripple effect across industries. By enabling products that are both high-quality and sustainable, Amyris is at the forefront of a shift towards more responsible consumption patterns. The firm's impact on industrial practices and consumer choices sets a benchmark for what the future of responsible business can look like.

Enabling Partnerships and Accelerating Innovation

Amyris' collaborative model is an exemplar of innovation and speed in product development. Dispelling any notion of a slow and arduous path to market, the company's partnerships are structured to accelerate the delivery of exceptional ingredients and products. Innovation is cultivated through close collaboration, with speed and scale as central tenets of Amyris' operation—allowing their partners to harness the biotech sphere's full potential and bring about a positive change at an accelerated pace.

Embracing a New Strategic Direction

The arrival of Kathy L. Fortmann is a harbinger of dynamic change at Amyris. It represents a renewed commitment to excellence and strategic growth. Fortmann's extensive background across various industries provides her with a unique blend of insights. This, combined with her keen sense of the market and strong leadership abilities, will chart a new course for the company. Her expertise in strategy and business development positions Amyris to amplify its leading role in the synthetic biology industry and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Supporting Global Sustainability Goals

Amyris' endeavors, embodied in its innovative products, are aligned with wider global sustainability goals. These include reducing carbon emissions, promoting responsible resource use, and fostering more sustainable agricultural practices. Amyris not only contributes to these goals through its business operations but also by inspiring other companies to adopt similar sustainable initiatives—bolstering a collective effort to achieve a more sustainable future.

Riding the Wave of Synthetic Biology’s Growth

The synthetic biology market is experiencing rapid growth as technologies advance and demand for ethical, sustainable products intensifies. With Kathy L. Fortmann at the helm, Amyris is well-positioned to harness the industry’s momentum. The company's future strategies will likely leverage emerging biotechnologies to further increase their impact on the environment and society. The ongoing expansion of Amyris' product lines, partnerships, and R&D efforts will continue to set the pace for innovation in synthetic biology.

Investing in Responsible Innovation

Amyris' commitment goes beyond meeting the current market demands—it invests in innovation targeting the nuanced needs of future generations. Ethical sourcing, renewable practices, and traceability form the cornerstones of Amyris' approach to product development. Such dedication ensures a legacy of leadership in harnessing biotechnology for the greater good.

Embracing Transparency and Traceability

The importance Amyris places on transparency and traceability underscores its commitment to ethical business practices. By ensuring that each ingredient's journey from development to distribution is visible and responsible, Amyris builds trust with both partners and consumers. This openness is crucial in an era where consumers are becoming more concerned with the origin and impact of the products they use.

Conclusion: A Strategic Vision for Sustainable Success

Amyris continues to lead by example in the synthetic biology space, with a strategic vision that harbors profound implications for both industry and society. The appointment of Kathy L. Fortmann as CEO represents a forward-thinking move that solidifies the company's trajectory towards sustainable success. With an emphasis on innovation, collaboration, and ethical practices, Amyris is set to make an indelible impact on the global stage. The combination of Ms. Fortmann's experience and drive with Amyris' established excellence signals a bold new chapter of growth and positive change for future biotechnological advancements.

As the synthetic biology industry burgeons, eyes will undoubtedly remain on Amyris under its new CEO as the company upholds its mission to pioneer, innovate, and sustainably transform the market. Its contributions will continue to resonate, setting the quintessential standard for how modern businesses can converge scientific achievement with ambitious environmental goals.