U.S –  William (Bill) McCarthy has joined Sakata Seed America, Inc. as its new Director of Research and Development (R&D).

Bill takes over the role from Jeff Zischke, who is retiring after 32 years with Sakata in roles as Tomato Breeder, Global Product Manager and Senior Director of R&D.

He will assume responsibility for all of Sakata Seed America’s vegetables research and development activity at the company’s R&D stations in Burlington, Washington, Woodland and Salinas, California, Ft Myers, Florida and Culiacan, Mexico.

“I actually started my career at Sakata. It feels like coming home.  Since rejoining Sakata in October 2020, I have been regularly impressed by the passion and devotion to develop market leading varieties that will have a positive impact on society and the environment. 

“Thanks to Jeff Zischke’s great leadership, I’m taking over a strong program with a motivated team of breeders, scientists and horticulturalists,” said McCarthy.

Bill has held key positions at major companies leading global hot and sweet pepper R&D programs, creating over 45 commercial pepper hybrids for open field and protected culture in the U.S., Brazil, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Australia and Venezuela.

Bill received his Ph.D. in horticulture and plant genetics from North Carolina State University, as reported by Perishable News. He will be based at Sakata’s Woodland Innovation Center in California, reporting to Dave Armstrong, President-CEO.

Dave Armstrong, President-CEO of Sakata Seed America highlighted that Bill brings deep knowledge and a history of many successful product introductions to the industry.

“We know Bill will build on our current success in developing a broad portfolio of competitive vegetable crops,” he said.

Headquartered in Morgan Hill, California, Sakata Seed America is a major research, seed production and marketing-distribution subsidiary of Sakata Seed Corporation, established in 1913. Sakata Seed America serves as the headquarters for the North American operations.

Sakata’s objective is to quickly and efficiently meet industry expectations for quality seed, innovative genetics and excellent greenhouse and field performance.

The company recently initiated plans to relocate its headquarters, including all operations and personnel functions, to its 219-acre site in Woodland, California, by late 2024.

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