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Syngenta China appointments signal ChemChina alignment with Sinochem

ChemChina subsidiary Syngenta has appointed the president of Sinochem Agriculture, Qin Hengde, to “oversee” Syngenta China.

ChemChina subsidiary Syngenta has appointed the president of Sinochem Agriculture, Qin Hengde, to “oversee” Syngenta China. He has stepped into the role after the retirement of Syngenta’s China regional director, Andrew Guthrie. Mr Qin will work closely with Syngenta’s chief operating officers, Jon Parr and Jeff Rowe, and take guidance from chief executive officer Erik Fyrwald. Syngenta points out that in this capacity, Mr Qin is not an employee of Syngenta, but acting as an adviser to the company.

The appointment has led to refuelling of rumours of a merger between ChemChina and Syngenta, which initially surfaced in 2016 and were leant credence last year when ChemChina chairman Ren Jianxin was replaced by the chairman of the Sinochem Group, Ning Gaoning.

Current Syngenta managers in China will take guidance from Mr Qin on China matters. They include: the head of seeds China, Claudio Torres; the crop protection head of commercial operations, Ding Song; and the crop protection head of marketing China, James Duan.

The changes do not in any way reflect any broader change to Syngenta’s operations or ownership, the company says. Syngenta remains owned by ChemChina and is governed by a board of directors both ChemChina appointed and independent appointments.  The personnel changes are designed to ensure that the company is well placed to capture opportunities in the Chinese market, Syngenta says.

If the merger between the two Chinese companies were to occur, it would further realign the crop protection industry, which has seen massive changes in the last couple of years through: the acquisition of Syngenta by ChemChina; the merger of Dow and DuPont; and the acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer. The most recent big acquisition, that of Arysta LifeScience by UPL, was completed last week.
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