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Verfaillie Resigns From Monsanto

December 18, 2002

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Monsanto president and chief executive Hendrik Verfaillie has resigned effective immediately, ending a 26-year career at the agricultural products company, Monsanto said Wednesday. Its shares price skidded.

Board chairman Frank AtLee III will serve as interim CEO while a search is conducted, the release said.

No reason was stated for the changes in the release. But the company has reported big losses this year on declining sales.

Calls to the company’s St. Louis headquarters were not returned.

Monsanto stock fell $1.19, or 5.9 percent, to close Wednesday at $19.02 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Verfaillie has been with Monsanto for 26 years. He led the company through a merger with Pharmacia & Upjohn in 2000, then an initial public offering, followed by the completion of the spinoff from Pharmacia earlier this year.

Verfaillie’s resignation comes amid a difficult financial year for Monsanto.

The company announced about 700 job cuts in April as Monsanto consolidated operations at facilities in several regions, mostly in southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and North America.

Monsanto has about 14,600 workers worldwide.

For the first nine months of the year, Monsanto lost $1.75 billion, or $6.67 per share, compared to a profit of $399 million, or $1.51 per share, a year ago. Sales for the nine months declined 19 percent to $3.45 billion from $4.25 billion.

In October, Monsanto revised down its forecast for earnings for all of 2002, citing a continued decline in sales of Roundup herbicide, the world’s best-selling herbicide, in the U.S. as well as lower than expected sales in Argentina.

In addition to Roundup, Monsanto products include the Roundup Ready family of seeds and other genetically modified seeds.

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