Sakata Seed America, Inc. has appointed William (Bill) McCarthy as director of R&D. McCarthy assumes the role from Jeff Zischke, who is retiring after 32 years with Sakata in roles as tomato breeder, global product manager, and senior director of R&D.
McCarthy will assume responsibility for all of Sakata Seed America’s vegetable research and development activity at the company’s R&D stations in Burlington, Washington, Woodland and Salinas, California, Ft Myers, Florida, and Culiacan, Mexico.
“Bill brings deep knowledge and a history of many successful product introductions to the industry,” says Dave Armstrong, president-CEO of Sakata Seed America. “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,” says McCarthy. “It feels like coming home. Since rejoining the company in October 2020, I have been impressed by the passion and devotion here to develop 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 has held 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 cultures in the U.S., Brazil, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Australia, and Venezuela. McCarthy 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 and reporting to Armstrong.