Press release

Martin Kropff of Wageningen UR appointed Director General of CIMMYT

Published on
February 26, 2015

Texcoco, Mexico – 25 February 2015. The Board of Trustees of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), is pleased to announce that Prof. Dr. Martin Kropff has accepted an appointment as the new Director General of CIMMYT, starting 1 June 2015. He follows Dr. Thomas Lumpkin, Director General since 2008, who has significantly expanded CIMMYT’s partnerships and funding, helping the center to be a leading and hugely respected institution in the CGIAR system.

Martin Kropff is currently Rector Magnificus and Vice Chairman of the Executive Board of Wageningen University and Research Centre (Wageningen UR) in the Netherlands. He obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in biology at Utrecht University and a Ph.D. in agricultural and environmental sciences at Wageningen University, both cum laude. In 1984, he was appointed assistant professor at Wageningen University. From 1990 to 1995, Kropff was the systems agronomist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, where he led an interdisciplinary program on the introduction of systems analysis and simulation in rice production research. Upon his return to the Netherlands in 1995, he served successively as Full Professor of Crop and Weed Ecology, Scientific Director of the University’s C.T. de Wit Graduate School for Production Ecology and Resource Conservation and Director General of the Plant Sciences Group. In 2005 he joined the Executive Board of Wageningen UR.

Kropff played a key role in raising Wageningen UR’s profile worldwide. In 2013, he joined the CGIAR Consortium Board, where he has worked to improve cohesion and develop a new CGIAR strategy. 

As DG of CIMMYT, a flagship CGIAR Center, Kropff will lead center efforts to strengthen worldwide research on agriculture, food and the environment; areas that are central to addressing global challenges to food and nutrition security.

On accepting this appointment, Kropff noted that CIMMYT is a renowned center of excellence in research on maize and wheat. “The center is emblematic of excellent, in-depth and applied research from breeding new varieties for ever-changing environments to systems research. As such, it is perfectly positioned to play a central and guiding role in the relevant scientific and development community. This position can be even better exploited by strengthening relationships with advanced research institutes, industry and partners in developing countries. I’m looking forward to explore with staff and stakeholders the pathways to consolidate these linkages; I’m convinced that in this way we can capitalize on the excellent legacy of my predecessor.”

CIMMYT Board Chair John Snape said:

“Martin Kropff brings to CIMMYT extensive experience in managing large agricultural research centers and a proven track record in institution building, quality development and fund-raising. “His experience with CGIAR is extensive,” Snape said. “Kropff has been particularly effective on the Consortium Board in building relationships among CGIAR Centers.”

The Board of Trustees looks forward to helping Kropff build on CIMMYT strengths as the worlds’ premier institute developing and applying maize and wheat science and technology for agricultural systems in the developing world and further develop on the outstanding legacy left by Tom Lumpkin on his retirement.