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Position Title: Sr. Director Global Ag Potato Breeding & Selection

Position Type: Regular - Full-Time ​

Position Location: VilleneuvedAscq 2020 

Grade: 07 

Requisition ID: 22211 



Position Summary:

Sr. Director, Global Agriculture Potato Breeding & Variety Selection, along with Regional Ag. Leads, is accountable for identifying and developing collaborative working plans with research partners and potato breeding companies, in order to identify opportunities for improved potato varieties, which drive differentiated, sustainable and unique business solutions to McCain and its customers. In particular, understanding climate change challenges and impacts to potato production, planet friendly focused programs, agronomic resilience, improved supply chain value and McCain products and business solutions innovation pipeline are critical components to the role.


Working closely with academia, research partners, breeders and start-up companies, on both conventional and new potato breeding techniques, and with Regional and Functional Agriculture and Business leaders (e.g. Commercial, Marketing), the Sr. Director will define and own the new variety strategy and create pipelines of opportunities within the regions. They will identify and integrate innovative scientific solutions through cross-functional Business and Agriculture ideation sessions to define business compelling variety traits, and lead the design and execution of projects to enable new variety development from pre-commercial to pilot commercial to commercial scale, enabling business growth and delivering sustainable supply chain resilience gains including environmental benefits and potato cost savings.


The Sr. Director Global Agriculture Potato Breeding & Variety Selection will also support the business through developing a network of collaborative research partners, which position McCain Foods at the forefront of the new variety selection and commercial adoption, taking account the current and evolving regulatory environment related to plant propagation and new breeding techniques. They are a member of the Global Agriculture leadership team, and will have frequent interactions with the Global Legal, Marketing, Commercial and Manufacturing departments.


Key Accountabilities


  1. Drive the interaction between McCain global Agriculture leads agronomy, Sustainable Cost Advantage, digital, Sustainability), McCain manufacturing operations, McCain product innovation and R&D, McCain Commercial in order to accelerate the new potato variety adoption at scale. Is co-responsible for the animation of the New Potato Variety Leadership Team and Potato Variety Council Group together with the Regional Ag lead.
  2. Collaborate with appropriate internal stakeholders to update, and if necessary upgrade the new potato variety stage gate process, aligned with regions strategic priorities. Develop co-screening with breeders to accelerate when small quantities are enough to validate a new variety suitability for processing.
  3. Run and provide potato variety innovation utilizing ideation sessions with breeding companies, to support the new potato variety selection in identifying ideotypes and prioritizing selection criteria according to regional strategies. Crossing plans can be co-owned or remain the breeder's initiative based on requirements established with McCain thanks to the co-definition of ideotypes and priorisation of the criteria.
  4. Explore the potential of Alternative and Innovative potato breeding techniques, as well as seed production options in light of current and future legislation. Prepare the seed and variety package of the Future.
  5. Create and lead networking and collaboration opportunities cross-regionally and cross-functionally, with academia, science research institutes, breeders, seed companies, corporate and institutional partners, start-up companies (collaborative projects, contracting, sub-contracting, sponsored programs), universities (PhD sponsorship, etc..), climate adaptation funds, etc.
  6. Develop specific metrics and KPI’s to evaluate the agronomic and value chain benefits of new genetic material in the domain of sustainability, biodiversity, quality, manufacturing, supply chain, and sustainable cost advantage for both McCain and growers.
  7. Develop NDA’, MOU, SOW with research partners with the goal to identify and capture industry uniqueness, exclusivity and ideally IP on new variety development.
  8. Develop interventions to build project management and potato breeding knowledge/understanding  capability (including NBT’s) within the Global and Regional Agriculture Teams, including development and delivery of training sessions, regional on-boarding of new variety SME’s
  9. Responsible for data collection, data management, analytics on new varieties, with the regions being accountable. Assists in developing predictive modelling of new variety agronomic performance in coordination with the global Ag & Data analytics team.
  10. Lead program governance of new variety installment with a regular watch of the evolution of the legislation in our operating countries, as well as a permanent watch out in the agronomic and scientific fields of interest.
  11. Manage the interaction with internal and external legal advisors and counsels on regulatory and IP related matters.
  12. Represents McCain global and advocates for McCain’s policy on the matter of potato breeding & variety selection, and coordinate external communication with Global Regulatory & External Affairs.


Must Have: MAster of Engineering degree in Biotechnology, Agronomy, Food or Pharmeceutical Idustry

Nice To Have: PhD Biotech, Genomics


Professional/Technical Accreditations/Attributes:

Must Have: 

  • Deep knowledge and understanding agriculture and agronomy practices
  • Biotechnology, molecular biology, genetics and new genomic techniques
  • Applied research knowledge and experience in the field of plant breeding, agronomy or food industry
  • Project management and operational efficiency in an international environment
  • Demonstrated experience with global project management, coordination, collaboration and influencing ability
  • Strategic thinker and interest in mid-long term strategies, including Legal and IP set up
  • Ability to liaise with external partners and build sustainable business relationships
  • Communication and science socialization to diverse audiences
  • IP management experience, knowledge and expertise
  • Has developed a network in the scientific world of plant breeding 


Nice To Have: 

  • Advanced financial knowledge
  • Has developed an external scientific & biotech network in both Europe & NA
  • Regulatory specific to genomics in both Europe & NA
  • 5-10 years of experience in industrial R&D, plant breeding, and/or project management in a scientific & industrial environment


Working Relationships/Key Contacts:







Agriculture global functions

To translate Business and Agriculture strategy (sustainability, SCA, digital & data) into new variety ideotypes and pipeline


Agriculture regional teams

To lead regional teams in ideation of ideoypes (climate change) and execution of commercial programs


Commercial function

Translate customer’s expectations into new variety biotech engineering design


Supply Chain & Manufacturing functions

To evaluate integrated supply chain feasibility and value (farm to fork) of new varieties plans (recovery, quality, new product)


Legal function

To work with McCain lawyers to support NDAs, MOUs and SOWs with a mindset of capturing IP through our collaboration with external research partners. Scrutinize legislation and evolution related to genomics.


External partners

Advance applied research to our business goals in collaborating with academia, universities, variety suppliers, biotechnology labs, etc..




Where appropriate, consultants supporting regional SCA programs



Agri-business economical intelligence

Develop network of Agri-business economical intelligence to raw material cost evolution




Critical TECHNICAL (Function-Specific) Competencies:


Familiarity with Microsoft Office programs (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, MS Teams, MS Whiteboard).


Training and demonstrated experience in project management in an international environment


Strong dual scientific (biotech) and industrial (business) acumen

Fluent English speaking and writing skills

Dutch, German a plus


Critical CORE (General Behavioral and Business) Competencies:


  • Advanced global collaboration skills
  • Sound ability of strategic thinking, forward looking, and mid to long-term goals as well as human resources competencies to deliver upon global business strategy
  • Demonstrated ability to coordinate complex projects/initiatives globally
  • Communicate relentlessly and socialize complex genomic principles
  • Strong organizational, written/oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills
  • Strong multi-cultural empathy and ability to work with diverse cultures, levels
  • Ability to earn the respect, acceptance and trust of peers, subordinates and superiors
  • Sound fact based decision making and problem solving ability with a focus on delivering results
  • Team player who is a champion of change
  • Think customer first, strong commercial acumen, understands R&D impact on consumers and customers
  • Risk management skills/capacity to handle and secure highly confidential information


McCain Foods is an equal opportunity employer. We see value in ensuring we have a diverse, antiracist, inclusive, merit-based, and equitable workplace.  As a global family-owned company we are proud to reflect the diverse communities around the world in which we live and work. We recognize that diversity drives our creativity, resilience, and success and makes our business stronger. 
McCain is an accessible employer. If you require an accommodation throughout the recruitment process (including alternate formats of materials or accessible meeting rooms), please let us know and we will work with you to meet your needs.

The health and safety of McCain employees and their families has been our number one priority since the start of COVID-19 pandemic. With vaccination restrictions easing across the globe we do not currently require employees to be vaccinated, but we reserve the right to change this mandate in line with health guidance and regulations in each country.
Your privacy is important to us. By submitting personal data or information to us, you agree this will be handled in accordance with the Global Privacy Policy 



Job Family: Agriculture      
Division: Global Agriculture 
Department: ​Global Agriculture ​
Location(s): CA - Canada : Alberta : Calgary || CA - Canada : Alberta : Coaldale || CA - Canada : Alberta : Edmonton || CA - Canada : Alberta : Grand Prarie || CA - Canada : Alberta : Lethbridge || CA - Canada : Alberta : Red Deer || CA - Canada : Alberta : Rocky View || CA - Canada : British Columbia : Burnaby || CA - Canada : British Columbia : Kamloops || CA - Canada : British Columbia : Kelowna || CA - Canada : British Columbia : Richmond || CA - Canada : British Columbia : Surrey || CA - Canada : British Columbia : Vancouver || CA - Canada : British Columbia : Victoria || CA - Canada : Manitoba : Carberry || CA - Canada : Manitoba : Portage la Prairie || CA - Canada : Manitoba : Winnipeg || CA - Canada : New Brunswick : Bathurst || CA - Canada : New Brunswick : Centreville || CA - Canada : New Brunswick : Edmundston || CA - Canada : New Brunswick : Florenceville-Bristol || CA - Canada : New Brunswick : Fredericton || CA - Canada : New Brunswick : Grand Falls || CA - Canada : New Brunswick : Hartland || CA - Canada : New Brunswick : Moncton || CA - Canada : New Brunswick : Saint John || CA - Canada : New Brunswick : Somerville || CA - Canada : Newfoundland and Labrador : Clarenville || CA - Canada : Newfoundland and Labrador : Corner Brook || CA - Canada : Newfoundland and Labrador : Marystown || CA - Canada : Newfoundland and Labrador : St. Anthony || CA - Canada : Newfoundland and Labrador : St. John's || CA - Canada : Nova Scotia : Bedford || CA - Canada : Nova Scotia : Belleisle || CA - Canada : Nova Scotia : Dartmouth || CA - Canada : Nova Scotia : Halifax || CA - Canada : Nova Scotia : Kentville || CA - Canada : Nova Scotia : Middleton || CA - Canada : Nova Scotia : New Glasgow || CA - Canada : Nova Scotia : Sydney || CA - Canada : Nova Scotia : Truro || CA - Canada : Nova Scotia : Yarmouth || CA - Canada : Ontario : Bolton || CA - Canada : Ontario : Borden || CA - Canada : Ontario : Brampton || CA - Canada : Ontario : Dedicated Mississauga || CA - Canada : Ontario : Etobicoke || CA - Canada : Ontario : Forest || CA - Canada : Ontario : Guelph || CA - Canada : Ontario : Kingston || CA - Canada : Ontario : Kitchener || CA - Canada : Ontario : Lansdowne || CA - Canada : Ontario : London || CA - Canada : Ontario : Maidstone || CA - Canada : Ontario : Markham || CA - Canada : Ontario : Mississauga || CA - Canada : Ontario : Ottawa || CA - Canada : Ontario : Thunder Bay || CA - Canada : Ontario : Toronto || CA - Canada : Ontario : Waterloo || CA - Canada : Ontario : Windsor || CA - Canada : Ontario : Woodstock || CA - Canada : Other : Reference job description || CA - Canada : Prince Edward Island : Bloomfield || CA - Canada : Prince Edward Island : Borden-Carleton || CA - Canada : Prince Edward Island : Charlottetown || CA - Canada : Prince Edward Island : Elmsdale || CA - Canada : Prince Edward Island : Kinkora || CA - Canada : Prince Edward Island : Middleton || CA - Canada : Prince Edward Island : Montague || CA - Canada : Prince Edward Island : New Perth || CA - Canada : Prince Edward Island : Summerside || CA - Canada : Quebec : Ancienne Lorette || CA - Canada : Quebec : Anjou || CA - Canada : Quebec : Blainville || CA - Canada : Quebec : Chicoutimi || CA - Canada : Quebec : Drummondville || CA - Canada : Quebec : Duberger || CA - Canada : Quebec : Gatineau || CA - Canada : Quebec : Lachine || CA - Canada : Quebec : Laval || CA - Canada : Quebec : Montreal || CA - Canada : Quebec : Pointe-Claire || CA - Canada : Quebec : Quebec City || CA - Canada : Quebec : Terrebonne || CA - Canada : Saskatchewan : Regina || CA - Canada : Saskatchewan : Saskatoon || FR - France : Artois : Bethune || FR - France : Marne : Matougues || FR - France : Nord : Villeneuve-d'Ascq || FR - France : Oise : Compiegne || FR - France : Other : Reference job description || FR - France : Pas-de-Calais : BETHUNE Cedex || FR - France : Pas-de-Calais : Harnes || NL - Netherlands : Flevoland : Lelystad || NL - Netherlands : Gelderland : Wezep || NL - Netherlands : Other : Reference job description || NL - Netherlands : Zeeland : Lewedorp 

Company: McCain Alimentaire SAS 

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