Dr. Robert Fraley was Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Monsanto Company until his retirement in 2018, where he led a team of agricultural scientists dedicated to developing seeds and solutions that help farmers around the world yield a more abundant, affordable, and sustainable food supply. In this role, he oversaw teams of researchers focused on plant breeding, plant biotechnology, ag biologicals, ag microbials, precision agriculture, and crop protection innovations that will help to feed our growing population.
Robb’s interest in the intersection of technology and agriculture began at an early age while growing up on his family’s farm in central Illinois. Often recognized as the father of agricultural biotechnology, he developed the first genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the early 1980s as a solution for farmers battling pests and weeds that threatened their yields.
During his 35-year tenure with Monsanto, Robb has held several leadership roles within the company, including Co-President of Monsanto’s agricultural sector, Group Vice President and General Manager of the New Products Division, Vice President of Technology for Crop Chemical and Plant Biotechnology R&D and Senior Research Specialist.
A resident of St. Louis, Robb is involved in several local and international agriculture organizations. Fraley’s honors include World Food Prize Laureate (2013), National Medal of Technology from President Clinton (1998), National Academy of Sciences Award for the Industrial Application of Science for his work on crop improvement (2008), among others.
Robb holds a Bachelor of Science and a Ph.D. in microbiology/biochemistry from the University of Illinois, an executive degree in business management from Northwestern University, and was a Biophysics postdoctoral fellow at the University of California – San Francisco.