Hugh Grant is chairman and chief executive officer of Monsanto Company, which helps farmers sustainably nourish our growing world.
Mr. Grant joined Monsanto in 1981 and has since worked on three continents in a variety of positions, including Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and President. He has held the roles of Chairman and CEO since 2003.
Monsanto, and Mr. Grant have been recognized by numerous groups for innovation, corporate responsibility and business leadership during his tenure. Monsanto has recently been named one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility Magazine; one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE Magazine; one of the Top 25 World’s Best Multinational Workplaces by the Great Place to Work Institute and a top 50 company for diversity by Diversity Inc. Mr. Grant has been named on Barron’s list of Most Respected CEOs, the Harvard Business Review’s Top 50 Best Performing CEOs and recognized as “CEO of the Year” by Chief Executive Magazine. In 2015, employee reviews also earned Mr. Grant an honor on the Top 10 Highest-Rated CEOs list by Glassdoor.com.
Mr. Grant is the lead director of PPG Industries, Inc. He serves on the Executive Committee for The Business Council and serves as chairman of Civic Progress in St. Louis. Mr. Grant also is on the Board of Trustees of Washington University and has been inducted as member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Born in Larkhall, Scotland, Mr. Grant earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural zoology with Honors at Glasgow University. He also earned a post-graduate degree in agriculture at Edinburgh University and a Master of Business Administration degree at the International Management Centre in Buckingham, United Kingdom.
Monsanto is a leading global producer of seeds and other tools that help farmers grow better harvests through plant breeding, soil health, crop protection and data science – all while using water and other resources more efficiently. The company collaborates with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, including population growth, food security, natural resource management and water scarcity. Today’s youth are a critical part of developing solutions to address these global challenges. Monsanto is proud to partner with leading youth organizations to support STEM and education and provide young adults opportunities to build their leadership, communication, and advocacy skills so they can address these challenges. The company is committed to improving lives of farmers, consumers and communities through innovation and investment.
I have always been drawn to science. When I was an undergraduate at Glasgow University in Scotland, I chose to major in molecular biology and agricultural zoology. That decision started me on a path to where I am today – at Monsanto, an agriculture company that uses cutting-edge science to help farmers raise more crops to feed a growing planet.
I enjoy getting to spend my days working with smart people using science to better the world. I want my company to do its part to help ensure future generations of scientists are able to do the same. And I also want us to do our part in making sure those who don’t choose STEM careers still get access to STEM coursework and learning.
This isn’t entirely altruistic. Improving STEM education benefits everyone. But it benefits companies like mine, specifically. That’s because our core driver is a talented and scientifically sophisticated workforce. We employ hundreds of biologists, botanists, geneticists, data scientists and more, working in countries all around the globe to help uncover scientifically driven solutions to some of society’s biggest challenges.
One of the biggest of these challenges is feeding a world population expected to grow by almost two billion people by 2050. We will need to boost global food output – massively. But we’ll need to do so with a limited amount of fresh water. And we’ll need to do so in the face of the extreme weather and temperature shifts brought about by climate change. Finding ways to help farmers solve this interlinked challenge is going to take a lot of smart, creative scientists, working closely with farmers – and the world won’t have those scientists without robust STEM education.
We compete with a lot of other companies for those talented STEM graduates. From our view, the more STEM graduates there are, the better we are able to fill the labs, data centers and research fields our company needs to develop the next big innovation in agriculture.
So, what is Monsanto doing to help advance STEM education?
We support STEMConnector’s Feed, Nourish, Thrive campaign, aimed at increasing the number of young people who choose STEM education so they can pursue careers in agriculture. Our America’s Farmers campaign awarded more than $2 million to rural school districts to advance STEM education just last year. The Monsanto Fund also provides annual scholarships to more than 1,500 students through the America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders program. And through our Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program, we’ve helped more than 80 Ph.D. students worldwide pursue careers in plant breeding.
I truly believe everyone can benefit from creating a more science-literate world. That is partly because so many challenges require extraordinary innovation. But it’s also true because in some cases, even recognizing and acknowledging these challenges requires a baseline level of scientific literacy.
Take climate change for example. On the surface, it seems hard to believe human activity could shift something as massive as a planetary climate and weather system. But when you look at the scientific evidence, it becomes plain that in this case, the science is decisive and clear.
At Monsanto, we trust science. We have studied the science on climate change and recognized that it is happening. And we are doing what we can to use science to face it and address it. Last year, we set an ambitious goal for ourselves: By 2021, our operations will be carbon neutral. That means our net carbon footprint will be zero. How will we accomplish this? With science.
Using data science and modeling, we’ve been able to leverage farming methods that sequester carbon in the soil, equal or even greater than the carbon emitted by growing those crops. With the advancement of science and our collective understanding of the criticality of mitigation and adaptation, we are going to augment our own efforts by enlisting farmers to use conservation practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We plan to collaborate with farmers to use the greenhouse gas reduction value to offset our own footprint.
While I think the world faces daunting challenges, I have confidence that, if harnessed, science can help us confront and surmount even the biggest of them. But only if people understand it, believe it and use it. That’s why I want students to have access to STEM education. I want them to have the same opportunity I had as a young student to fall in love with the scientific method. I think it will do the same for them that it has done for me: help me stay curious, remain skeptical and question my own assumptions. Those are the traits that help people move science forward. And – not coincidentally – they’re also the traits that help people understand and embrace scientific advances.
There’s been nothing non-musical that I’ve been thinking about lately because we’ve been doing this film thing, the sound-track for it, and we’ve been trying to get the tour thing together because we’re coming over soon.
You know about the rainbow here? It’s sort of the place to play over here and when we played there we did a movie of the show and now we’re putting the pieces together. It’s going to be called “Queen Live At The Rainbow”
It really depends, there are so many places. There’s a place called Essences, that’s a very good place. They seem to get very good quality stuff, but still old, 1920’s stuff. If they have the money I’d ask them to go to Zandra Rhodes, because she’s got a place where she works and you can buy them off the rail. They’re quite beautiful.