AppHarvest (APPH) Announces Ciara Burnham and Geof Rochester to Board
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AppHarvest, Inc. (NASDAQ: APPH), a leading AgTech company, Public Benefit Corporation and Certified B Corp focused on farming more sustainably using 90 percent less water than open-field agriculture, today announced Ciara Burnham, an executive and investor with a track record of building growth businesses in financial services and social impact organizations, and Geof Rochester, a thought leader in CSR marketing at organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, will join its board of directors.
“Geof and Ciara both are dedicated to the AppHarvest mission to build a resilient food system,” said Jonathan Webb, AppHarvest Founder & CEO. “Ciara is a proven leader with tremendous experience working in organizations sitting at the intersection of ESG, impact and growth. Geof brings decades of experience in marketing and corporate social responsibility and has worked closely with AppHarvest including as chief marketing officer. I firmly believe that consumers increasingly will demand companies uphold the highest ESG standards as table stakes for doing business and these leaders will help take us to the next level.”
“The AppHarvest mission to grow food in a sustainable, ethical, and environmentally sensitive way by leveraging the best of nature and supplementing that with innovative technology resonates deeply with me,” said Burnham. “The company is at an inflection point of a strong growth curve, and my background in financial technology paired with my commitment to supporting social impact organizations makes this a compelling challenge and custom fit.” Burnham will serve on the both the audit and nominating-governance committees.
“Having spent much of my career focused on CSR strategy for NGOs, media companies and consumer goods brands, I am eager to leverage my network in support of AppHarvest’s growth as a broader sustainable foods company and to contribute to the mission of taking care of people, community and planet,” said Rochester. As part of the transition to the board role, Rochester will continue to serve in a short-term advisory capacity to complete some key brand-building initiatives.
Burnham and Rochester fill the board seats vacated by Equilibrium CEO and Chairman Dave Chen and Narya Capital Partner J.D. Vance. “We thank Dave and J.D. for being early investors who threw their full support into establishing AppHarvest as a mission-focused company doing good for people and planet,” said Webb.
Remaining AppHarvest board members include Jonathan Webb, AppHarvest founder and CEO; Anna Mason, Rise of the Rest Seed Funds partner; Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia founder; Bob Laiken, Novus Capital Corporation II chairman; David Lee, AppHarvest president; Greg Couch, Meridien Wealth Management founder and president; Jeffrey W. Ubben, Inclusive Capital Partners founder and managing partner; and Kiran Bhatraju, Arcadia Power founder and CEO.
About Ciara BurnhamCiara Burnham is a seasoned investor, operator and strategist with more than 20 years of experience in building growth businesses in financial services. Ciara currently serves on the board of Fortitude Re, a multi-line reinsurance company, as the chair of the Risk & Capital committee and member of the audit committee. She also serves on the boards of the financial technology companies, OpenInvest and “blooom,” and as an adviser to Athena Technology Acquisition Corp., an all-women SPAC. Previously, she was a partner at QED Investors, a leading venture capital firm that actively supports high-growth businesses, focusing on emerging growth companies in the U.S. financial services ecosystem. Prior to that, she was a senior managing director with global investment bank Evercore, where she played a leadership role in the build out of the firm’s presence on a global basis; and served as CEO of Evercore Trust, a nationally chartered trust bank with over $50 billion in assets. Ciara is a founding limited partner of How Women Invest – a venture capital fund working to increase support for female founders. Ciara received an AB from Princeton University and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She serves as chair of the Board of Trustees of the non-profit Education Development Center and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School and the Dean’s Advisory Council of Princeton University.
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