Duraiswami Narain has been appointed as the Senior Bayer Representative for South Asia and Vice Chairman & Managing Director for Bayer CropScience Limited, with effect from December 1, 2018. He succeeds Richard van der Merwe, who will retire from Bayer after a 33 year-long tenure spanning several global markets.
In his new role, according to a note issued by Bayer, Narain will be based in Mumbai and will also be responsible for Bayer's Global Smallholder Farming initiative, which aims to provide holistic and innovative solutions for smallholder farmers in developing economies. Narain, who apparently is just referred to as D Narain or just 'D', started his career in Monsanto in 1998 in India and went on to handle various international and global roles. He has more than three decades of global experience in the agriculture sector. Most recently, he held the role of Vice President and Treasurer at Monsanto, based at the company's global headquarters at St. Louis in USA.
This transition at Bayer in India happens at a crucial juncture when it is trying to integrate the company with Monsanto in India, where the two companies and Monsanto and Bayer CropScience exist as two different listed entities. In June 2018, Bayer completed the $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto to create the world's biggest agrochemical and seed company. While at a global level the integration between the two companies has happened, in India, the legal process for the integration of both entities has been initiated and is expected to be completed in about a year. While typically, apparently like in other geographies, there would be committees with people from both companies involved in ensuring a smooth integration, Narain would not just oversee the smooth integration but perhaps also deal with the legacy challenges of Monsanto in India.
Earlier, in September this year, Bob Reiter, global head of research and development, Bayer CropScience division (earlier with Monsanto) told journalists in Germany, "We have technology in the lab that we know will be helpful in the Indian market but we cannot afford to bring them to the market that does not service our business and ultimately serve our customers." Also that "the reality around whole discussion around BT cotton is that as a company we cannot serve a market if it will not pay for the invention we try to bring to the market...the challenge in India has been that the government has stepped into, I would say, a conflict that started with licensees and became more complex."
The release issued by the company to announce Narain's appointment, however, says: "Bayer is committed to support India's growth story by bringing in world-class technologies and delivering trusted innovations in crop protection, seeds, environmental science, animal health and pharmaceuticals." Bayer, it quotes Narain as saying: "Has been in the country for more than 120 years and our purpose: Science for a better life" guides us in advancing health and nutrition for India's growing population. Together with our partners, we are developing innovative solutions and will continue to maintain our strong customer focus."
Bayer has also appointed Simon-Thorsten Wiebusch as the Chief Operating Officer for the Crop Science Division of Bayer in India, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka. Simon has more than two decades of experience in markets across Eastern Europe and Asia. Prior to this, Simon was the Chief Executive Officer for Bayer's Crop Science Division in South East Asia and was based in Thailand.