Company installing new leadership
The six top members of management of Corteva Agriscience Ethiopia dismissed accusations of misconduct and misuse of power, which are said to have led to conflicts in the regional office, eventually bringing about mass resignations.
The reaction of the management team, which includes Feseha Zeru and five other officials, has come a week after The Reporter published a news story on July 24, 2021 stating the giant improved seed producer and supplier has been hit with a management crisis.
The report stated that the regional office launched an investigation against its former Management team over allegations of misconduct.
In their letter written to The Reporter, the former members of the management team of Pioneer Hi-Bred Seeds Ethiopia plc (otherwise known as Corteva), have rejected the report describing it as “categorically inaccurate” but confirmed their resignations.
“While the six members of the company management team, who served the company for more than two decades, admit that we have duly filed our resignation from the office and accepted by the African and Middles East Regional Office, there are still pending issues that have not been addressed, and we shall abide with the company rules of confidentiality not to disclose,” the statement reads.
They argued that there has never been a management crisis in the company until they resigned from office. However, as per The Reporter’s report last week, its sources confirmed that the contentious crisis in the company started more than two weeks before the six individuals resigned.
In response to the reported allegation that the former country leader, Fiseha Zeru, committed misconduct, the statement read “Neither Fiseha nor his undisclosed aides have any knowledge of such grave accusations of unspecified misconduct and abuse of power. We are unaware of the alleged violations reported to have been committed or received any charge.”
“we suspect the so-called investigation could have been conducted in an orchestrated fishing expedition with the instrumentalities of local collaborators and foreign staff that are privy to such conspiracy who are now engaged on fictitious and blasphemous media trials in the absence of concrete evidence.” it adds.
Besides rejecting the stated accusation, the six individuals rather pointed their figure at the company’s regional management, who accuse them of fabricating lies due to their achievement and successful performance they registered locally, which is better than any other regional offices, especially in the East Africa team where the mother company operates.
“The mass resignation of the six members of the management team, along with the majority industrious staffs of the company, toiled to bring the spectacular success that culminated on its recognition by CEO of Corteva Agriscience, Jim Collins, on its achievements that excelled and overshadowed all neighboring countries within the East Africa region including the country where the regional office is located,” they said.
“We feel some of the leaders in the East Africa team enticed them to become jealous of the success story and plot to dwarf the Ethiopian Company and its hardworking staff not to reap the fruits of three decades of endeavors.”
Following the statements, The Reporter once again contacted officials of the company via Zoom including the newly appointed Country leader, Fasil Yilma from Addis Ababa’s office as well as Corteva’s regional Communication director, Barbra Muzata, based in Johansburg, South Africa.
During the conversation, The Reporter asked Barbara for the company’s official stand over the report of allegations as well as the reports of investigators deployed to Addis Ababa to investigate the stated allegation. However, Barbara declined to give any details on this issue and she opted to neither confirm nor deny. But she replied “It is all about individual matter, which I cannot comment in any way.”
“When you come to an individual matter such as this issue around accusations [of misconduct] and things like that, we are bound by the law not to comment about personal issues, what people are saying. So I am unable to comment or give any information,” she said.
Asked how it can be considered personal or an individual matter when someone is entitled to lead and represent a company, she insisted that “whatever it is, it becomes the issue of an individual. It is very confidential and we will work it out.”
After the Zoom conversation, the company has once again sent a separate statement confirming the appointment of a new leadership confirming last week’s reports issued by The Reporter.
According to the latest official statement, Corteva Agriscience has new leadership appointments to support its Ethiopia business, which includes Fasil Yilma, who is appointed as Country Leader of its Ethiopian seed and crop protection business.
Fasil has an extensive local industry experience, having fulfilled several senior management roles across the Company, the company said. This includes working for both Dow AgroSciences and DuPont, the two entities that merged to form Corteva Agriscience in June 2019.
In addition, Mekonnen Engida will serve as Plant Location Leader (Seed Production), and Edomias Telahun, as Accounting Leader for Corteva Agriscience in Ethiopia.
Corteva Agriscience is present in more than 40 countries across the Africa Middle East region and employs over 900 people as part of its operations. In Ethiopia, the company has been working for more than 25 years supporting a mix of large and smallholder farmers across the country offering Pioneer brand seed and Corteva Agriscience crop protection solutions to maize, wheat, teff, fruit and vegetables farmers in the market.
“As a leading global agriculture company, we are ready to support the government in enabling the agriculture sector be more efficient, helping to ensure that farmers have access to agricultural inputs such as hybrid seed varieties, agronomic education and training,” said Subbarao Kolli, Corteva Agriscience President for Africa Middle East (AME).