Case study

category: search
HarvestPlus – Search for CEO
“I am honored to be part of the amazing team at HarvestPlus. Leading a global effort to improve nutrition and health by breeding and deploying staple food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals.”  Beverley Postma, CEO. 


Key skills:  Understanding complex organisations, ongoing support, importance of governance

Two billion people in the world today lack the basic essential vitamins and minerals.  Harvest Plus was set up by the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to tackle this issue through a process called biofortification.  (Adding essential micronutrients into the diets of people who are deficient.


In 2016, we were appointed by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to assist them in the search for a Chief Executive Officer for the Harvest Plus programme. The search posed a number of complex challenges around governance, employing authority and contractual obligations. HarvestPlus was a virtual-style organisation with a matrix structure. So the successful candidate would need to be able to survive and thrive in this environment.

The role required an exceptional candidate, someone who could develop and achieve a revolutionary vision for the organisation, within a complex structure. As a primary spokesperson for HarvestPlus they would be expected to achieve global recognition and support for HarvestPlus as the world leader for biofortification, plus grow the organisation so it was able to fulfil its ambitious target of reaching 100 million people across the world with biofortified foods by 2020.

Impact / results

We created an expansive search strategy which identified global institutions, in the international development, food security and nutrition sector. Targeting key organisations such as Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), BASF, Coca Foundation, FAO, WFP and USAID we identified and matched the candidates to the client’s exact requirements.

Of the 200 candidates matched to the role, 78 were approached, 14 candidates were long-listed and six made it to shortlisting stage. From those six candidates, a successful appointment was made and Beverly Postma took up her position in mid-2016.