Barbara H. Wells


Dr. Barbara H. Wells is the Director General of the International Potato Center (CIP), joining the organization in early 2014.  She is an accomplished senior executive with extensive scientific and business experience in research, general management, strategic planning, regulatory processes, and the technical development and commercialization of products in agricultural and forestry markets throughout the world. Her agriculture and forestry expertise spans more than 30 years. Throughout her career, Dr. Wells has worked directly with farmers to apply science at the farmer level to improve their livelihoods and productivity.

In her previous post as Vice President of Global Strategy at Agrivida, Inc., a firm that develops enzyme solutions for animal nutrition and feed-stocks for the production of biofuels and bio-products, Dr. Wells was responsible for planning and implementing the company’s global commercial development strategy and scientific collaboration activities with an initial focus on Latin America.

From 2002 to 2012 she was President and Chief Executive Officer of ArborGen, Inc., a global forestry tree seedling, and tree breeding business. In this post Dr. Wells led the transformation of the organization from a start-up biotechnology company to a fully operational business with commercial sales of more than 250 million tree seedlings in the US, New Zealand and Australia. Prior to joining ArborGen, Dr. Wells was Vice President responsible for growth initiatives and investments in Latin America for Emergent Genetics, an agricultural investment firm.

Dr. Wells previously spent 18 years at Monsanto as Co-Managing Director of Brazilian operations and in several leadership roles in field product development across the world for many crops including cotton, corn soybeans, tree crops, and other products.

Dr. Wells has spent a large part of her life outside of the USA. She grew up in Peru and Bolivia and spent much of her career based in Brazil. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. Her move to CIP is in keeping with her ambition to improve the livelihoods of the world’s poor farmers, and to drive forward the mission of CIP in food security and nutrition.

Dr. Wells received her Ph.D. in Agronomy from Oregon State University, her M.S. degree in Plant Pathology and her B.S. degree with Honors in Horticulture from the University of Arizona.