Kalera, one of the fastest-growing and largest vertical farming companies in the world, has proposed the appointment of Curtis McWilliams to its board of directors. In addition, it is expected that McWilliams will chair Kalera’s Audit Committee, which is responsible for oversight of the financial reporting and disclosure process.
McWilliams brings nearly 40 years of executive leadership and experience in mergers and acquisitions, real estate, corporate governance as well as financial accounting and analysis to the Kalera board. After an extended career in investment banking with Merrill Lynch, he transitioned to the CEO of Trustreet Properties where over the course of the following 10 years he oversaw the growth of the company from under $100 million to over $3 billion when it was sold to GE Capital in 2007.
He presently is the non-executive chair of Ardmore Shipping Corp., an independent director for Braemar Hotels & Resorts and lead independent director for Modiv Inc. McWilliams has previously chaired the audit committee for CNL Bank and presently serves as chair of the audit committee for Braemar Hotels as well as serving on the audit committee for Ardmore Shipping.
The addition of McWilliams to the board coincides with Kalera’s rapid expansion into several new markets and its acquisition of Vindara Inc., the first company to develop seeds specifically designed for use in vertical indoor farm environments as well as other controlled environment agriculture farming methods.
“We are thrilled and honored to have Curtis McWilliams join Kalera’s Board,” said Bjørge Gretland, chairman. “Curtis has been tremendously successful as a CEO and has extensive experience chairing audit committees. He also brings valuable expertise doing M&A deals. I am confident he will be a strong contributor to Kalera’s success.”
In addition to his previous business experience, McWilliams also has served on numerous civic and non-profit boards including the Orlando Museum of Art and Young Life. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University and his MBA from the University of Chicago with a concentration in finance.
“There has never been a more pressing need for vertical farming than there is today. I’m honored and excited to have the opportunity to join the board at Kalera, the leader in this innovative and disruptive industry,” said McWilliams. “I look forward to working with Kalera as they continue to grow and expand domestically and abroad.”
Kalera currently operates two growing facilities in Orlando and a newly opened facility in Atlanta, and is building facilities in Houston, Denver, Columbus, Seattle, Minnesota and Hawaii. Kalera is the only controlled environment agriculture company with coast-to-coast facilities being constructed, offering grocers, restaurants, theme parks, airports and other businesses nationwide reliable access to locally grown, clean, safe, nutritious, price-stable, long-lasting greens. Kalera uses a closed-loop irrigation system which enables its plants to grow while consuming 95 percent less water compared to field farming.
The appointment of McWilliams as member of the board of directors will be presented for approval by Kalera’s shareholders at a general meeting and is expected to take effect upon completion of the contemplated merger between Kalera AS and the new Luxembourg parent for the group, which was announced previously.