Jun 20, 2022
Bill McCarthy joins Sakata Seed as director of R&D

Sakata Seed America Inc. has appointed William (Bill) McCarthy as director of research and development. Bill assumes the role from Jeff Zischke, who is retiring after 32 years in roles that include tomato breeder, global product manager and senior director of R&D.

McCarthy assumes responsibility for all of Sakata Seed America’s vegetables research and development activity at the company’s R&D stations in Burlington, Washington, Woodland and Salinas, California, Fort Myers, Florida and Culiacan, Mexico.

Bill McCarthy

“Bill brings deep knowledge and a history of many successful product introductions to the industry,” Dave Armstrong, president-CEO of Sakata Seed America, said in a news release. “We know Bill will build on our current success in developing a broad portfolio of competitive vegetable crops.”

“I actually started my career at Sakata,” McCarthy said in the release. “It feels like coming home. Since rejoining Sakata in October 2020, I have been regularly impressed by the passion and devotion to develop market leading varieties that will have a positive impact on society and the environment.

“Thanks to Jeff Zischke’s great leadership, I’m taking over a strong program with a motivated team of breeders, scientists and horticulturalists,” McCarthy said in the release.

McCarthy has had key positions at major companies leading global hot and sweet pepper R&D programs, creating more than 45 commercial pepper hybrids for open field and protected culture in the U.S., Brazil, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Australia and Venezuela. He received his Ph.D. in horticulture and plant genetics from North Carolina State University. He will be based at Sakata’s Woodland Innovation Center in California, reporting to Armstrong.

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