AquaBounty president David Melbourne now has the extra job of CEO, taking over the role from Sylvia Wulf, inset.

Change at the top for AquaBounty

President is now also chief executive of GM salmon farmer


United States land-based salmon farmer AquaBounty Technologies today announced that company president David Melbourne is also now its chief executive. He takes over from Sylvia Wulf, who will continue as the non-executive chair of AquaBounty’s board.

The appointment comes as AquaBounty continues its search for money to keep the company running and to re-start its stalled construction of a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility in Pioneer, Ohio.

The company, which grows Atlantic salmon that inherit a genetic modification enabling them to grow more quickly, recently closed a smaller RAS facility in Albany, Indiana, and put it up for sale.

Succession plan

Wulf said Melbourne’s promotion to joint president/CEO was part of AquaBounty’s long-term succession plan for the leadership team.

“Over the last year, Dave has led day-to-day business functions for the company,” Wulf said in a press release. “The board recognises the outstanding contributions and leadership he has provided over the last year, including his role in the efficient shutdown of our Indiana farm. With his promotion, he will take on the additional responsibilities for the business including leading our pursuit of a range of financing and strategic alternatives, as well as investor relations and strategic initiatives to achieve AquaBounty’s growth plans.

“Dave is a transformational leader and I have full confidence in his ability to take the reins at this critical point in time. I look forward to working with him in my continued role as board chair.”

Maintaining liquidity

Melbourne said: “I am excited for the opportunity to lead the incredible AquaBounty team, and together, deliver the financing required to stabilise the business in the short-term, and put in place the strategic imperatives to achieve our longer-term growth plans to benefit our company and stockholders.

“My immediate focus will be on securing the required financing to maintain liquidity and support current operations.

“Working in conjunction with our investment banking partner, we will prioritise completing the sale of the Indiana farm and aggressively push forward on identifying and finalising financing and strategic alternatives.

“We have made great progress over the last five years across all areas of our business. We have leveraged our advantages of vertical integration; refined and improved our operational expertise and technical capabilities; made important strides forward in our breeding, genetics, and fish health and nutrition initiatives; and successfully launched our salmon into the US and Canadian markets.

“AquaBounty has a bright future, all supported by a strong, experienced and committed team. Together, we will face the challenges and look forward to driving continued progress.”