Adama Names Lichtenstein to Replace Vigodman as CEO

New chief brings experience in finance, manufacturing and ties with company previously known as Makhteshim Agan’s Chinese controlling shareholder.

Adama Agricultural Solutions, the company known until last month as Makhteshim Agan, on Sunday named Deputy CEO Chen Lichtenstein as its new CEO, effective this Friday.

Lichtenstein will replace Erez Vigodman, who will be taking up a new post as CEO of Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world’s largest generic drug producer, next week.

“Chen is uniquely qualified to lead Adama through its next phase of growth, having been a key member of the close-knit team that directed the company’s business transformation over the past several years,” said Adama Chairman Yang Xingqiang, who also vice president of China National Chemical Corporation, Adama’s parent company. “In his new role, Chen will also leverage his extensive familiarity of global capital markets as we prepare for an initial public offering.”

Lichtenstein has held key management roles since he joined the company eight years ago, among them establishing and managing the company’s global resources division, which is responsible manufacturing, supply chain, procurement and research and development, and heading its corporate development and capital markets activities. Most recently, Lichtenstein oversaw the integration of Adama with ChemChina and has served as president and CEO of China National Chemical Corporation, ChemChina’s agrochemical division.

Before joining Adama, Lichtenstein served as an executive director of investment banking at Goldman Sachs in New York and London. He holds joint doctoral degrees from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and School of Law, and bachelors and law degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Lichtenstein takes over a company − the world’s biggest maker of generic agrochemicals − whose business and financial performance improved markedly during the Vigodman years. The company is now rolling out a new name and trademark, and is angling make an initial public offering.

“2014 will be an important year for our organization as we roll out our new global brand and increase the integration of our business with ChemChina,” Lichtenstein said.

Three other internal candidates were in the running for the top post at Adama − Ran Maidan , CEO Asia-Pacific, Africa and Middle East; Ignacio Dominguez , a non-Israeli who serves now as chief commercial officer and head of the global products and marketing division; and CEO Americas Shaul Friedland. 

ChemChina, bought a 60% stake in the company four years ago and delisted its shares from trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, leaving the Israel’s Koor Industries as a minority shareholder. The former Makhteshim is readying an initial public offering in about a year’s time, which will raise its global profile further.

Ofer Vaknin