Pivot Bio, whose microbial nitrogen products have become increasingly popular, has announced that Chris Abbott will become its new Chief Executive Officer, replacing co-founder and now-former CEO Karsten Temme.

In a move that had already been made public, Temme will become the company’s Chief Innovation Officer.

“A really seamless transition is going to occur, and Karsten is thrilled to get back at focusing on disruptive innovation for the future,” said Tracy Willits, vice president, communications and government affairs.

Abbott, a member of Pivot Bio’s board of directors since 2018, “most recently helped launch and build Conti Ventures at Continental Grain Company,” Pivot said in a news release that also mentioned its new on-seed nitrogen products, PROVEN 40 OS and RETURN OS.

“Chris has the skills, ag expertise, and strategic vision to scale Pivot Bio into its next stage of growth as it delivers solutions that growers trust for their crops,” Pivot Bio Board Chairperson Roger Underwood said.

“I’m excited to build upon the rock-solid foundation of breakthrough scientific discovery and novel products that Karsten and the Pivot Bio team have built,” Abbott said. “With Pivot Bio, growers achieve better profitability, predictability, safety, and sustainability. We help them realize strong yield results, greater (return on investment), and higher margins — that’s an unbeatable value proposition to continue capturing market share in the $190B nitrogen market.”

According to the company, its microbes "form a symbiotic relationship with the corn plant. These microbes take nitrogen from the air and create the ammonia that plants need to grow and thrive, supplying it to the plant throughout the most critical growth stages. Pivot Bio PROVEN® 40 On-Seed and In-Furrow products adhere directly to the root of the corn plant and do not run off during weather events, providing farmers with a more predictable, reliable and consistent method for delivering plant nutrition."

The company also said its revenue had topped $100 million for the first time in fiscal 2023, an increase of more than 60% from FY 2022. Willits said the company, which is not publicly traded, is “working towards profitability.”

In addition, Pivot said growers are continuing to use its products year after year. The company reported “95%+ Net Revenue Retention (NRR) from its 2022 grower cohort and 190%+ NRR from its 2020 and 2021 cohorts.”

Pivot Bio products were used on more than 5 million acres in FY2023 – “an unprecedented rate of adoption for new crop nutrition technology,” the company said.

Last year, Pivot products “helped customers avoid approximately 226,400 metric tons of CO2 equivalent across over 3 million acres – like meeting the electricity needs of 44,000 U.S. homes for a year,” the company said. 

Willits said that with Temme focusing more on research and innovation, “We look to capitalize on the momentum that we've experienced in 2023 and really ramp that up in 2024 and beyond so we can deliver a better nitrogen to farmers,” not just in the U.S. but abroad.

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Pivot Bio is working through regulatory processes in Canada and Brazil, and also is working in Kenya, Willits said.

In the U.S., Pivot already is shipping its on-seed products from a new plant in St. Louis, Willits said. Another facility in Ames, Iowa, is scheduled to open this fall. 

The company describes that as a “state-of-the-art facility” in Iowa State University Research Park that will serve as “a Midwest hub for technical expertise, product information, and personalized customer support, enabling farmers to maximize the benefits of Pivot Bio.”

Pivot's also adding a new packaging line at the company’s first distribution center in Chicago as well as a distribution center in Omaha.

“With our strong fiscal year 2023 results and expansion plans to meet farmers’ increasing demand, Pivot Bio is well-positioned for its next phase of growth under Chris’ leadership,” Temme said. “I have worked alongside Chris for several years as we set our strategic direction with the board, and he is the right person to further optimize the commercial opportunity of our patented products and fully realize our ambition to make agriculture more productive and sustainable.”

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