Sam Dryden to Head Agricultural Development - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
SEATTLE -- Sam Dryden, a managing director of Wolfensohn & Company, will join the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program as director of Agricultural Development on February 1, 2010.
An investor and entrepreneur in life sciences ventures, Dryden has written and lectured widely on food security and economic development issues and served as an advisor on rural development for the World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation.
“Sam brings a wealth of experience to the foundation—not only in agriculture, research, and business, but also in a wide variety of projects related to agricultural development and public-private partnerships,” said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the foundation’s Global Development Program. “His strong leadership qualities will help the team deliver on our strategy to help small farmers improve their lives.”
Dryden will lead a foundation team dedicated to helping millions of the world’s poorest farming families boost their productivity and increase their incomes through investments in better seeds, farm management training, access to markets, and effective policies. To date, the foundation has committed $1.4 billion to agricultural development efforts in Africa and South Asia.
At Wolfensohn & Company, a corporate advisory and investment firm founded by former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, Dryden focused on investments in biofuels and other alternative energies. Until 2006, he led Emergent Genetics, Inc., which develops and markets seeds. Previously, Dryden served as president and CEO of Agrigenetics Corporation, a seed company, and founded Big Stone Inc., a private venture and development company. He began his career as an analyst with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Dryden is on the U.S. board of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which is focused on ensuring crop diversity for food security. He also serves on the National Academies Roundtable on Science and Technology for Global Sustainability. Previously, he served on the World Bank’s steering committee for the International Assessment on Agricultural Science and Technology. He was a member of the executive council of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and was involved in its efforts to advance food security in Africa. He also served on the board of the South/North Development Initiative, a Rockefeller family effort aimed at alleviating rural poverty in developing countries through entrepreneurial development.
Dryden has worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. A native of eastern Kentucky, he received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Emory University.
Dryden replaces Dr. Rajiv Shah who was recently selected to serve as the administrator for the United States Agency for International Development.