Pure Harvest Smart Farms Makes Three Senior Appointments as Next Phase of International Growth Beckons

  • Adrian Almeida joins as Chief Operating Officer from US-based Sensei Ag
  • Dr. Josef Schmidhuber, former Director in the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), joins as Chief Sustainability Officer
  • Andrew Bolter appointed as Chief Financial Officer brings a wealth of experience in taking companies to market
  • All three appointments represent a strong mark of confidence in Pure Harvest’s leading role in the MENA’s burgeoning AgriTech industry

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 31 October 2023: Pure Harvest Smart Farms (Pure Harvest), a world- leading, sustainable, technology-enabled agribusiness headquartered in the UAE, today announced three internationally-proven senior appointments as the company enters a new phase of strategic growth.

Adrian Almeida has been appointed as the company’s first Chief Operating Officer, joining Pure Harvest from Sensei Ag, the US-based AgriTech Smart Farming company founded by Oracle Co-founder Larry Ellison and acclaimed physician and scientist Dr. David Agus. There he served as Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Innovation Officer during a successful period of North America-market growth.

Adrian is a seasoned senior executive with more than 20 years of international experience in the controlled-environment agriculture (CEA), AgriTech, Food, Consumer Packaged Goods, and Chemicals industries. He has held leadership roles in operations, sales, marketing, innovation, technology, strategy, MA, human resources, sustainability, and engineering, contributing to the success of some of the world’s most renowned, successful, and largest CEA and AgriTech companies, including NatureSweet (USA), Larry Ellison’s Sensei Ag (USA), and Azura (France, Morocco), among others. Adrian holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and an MBA with an Organizational Development concentration, as well as several graduate studies at Harvard Business School and Schulich School of Business.

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Dr Josef Schmidhuber joins as Chief Sustainability Officer, bringing a wealth of international experience at the OECD, FAO, IPCC, World Bank and European Investment Bank. Dr Schmidhuber’s work has been published in high-impact journals like Nature, PNAS, the Lancet and Science, as well as in hundreds of books and documents of international organizations. Josef holds an MSc in agricultural economics and a PhD in economics from the Technical University of Munich.

In addition, Andrew Bolter joins Pure Harvest as Chief Financial Officer, having previously served as CFO and member of the board of directors at RA International Group plc, a global support services business with over 1,500 employees. Andrew led the process to successfully list the company on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in 2018.

Prior to this, Andrew worked with Ernst  Young (EY) in Toronto, Canada, and in the UAE - where he specialized in assisting multinational corporations to establish or grow their operations in the Middle East and Africa, supporting their global management teams to implement organic and inorganic growth strategies. Andrew is a Canadian Chartered Accountant, Chartered Business Valuator, and a Chartered Director with the UK Institute of Directors. He completed his undergraduate studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada, earning an Honours BBA.

Commenting on the landmark appointments, Sky Kurtz, CEO and founder of Pure Harvest, said: “I am so pleased to welcome Adrian, Josef and Andrew to our mission here at Pure Harvest. It is a fantastic vote of confidence in both the company we have built, and the wider AgriTech sector in the MENA region to attract talent of such caliber to one of the harshest environments on earth - in many ways, the ultimate proving ground and place of greatest need for our technology. All three appointments have extensive senior management experience leading large, complex organizations, and bring a wealth of knowledge and insight to our businesses. Their experience in growing and scaling up businesses will be invaluable to Pure Harvest as we embark on the next phase of our growth journey - bringing our mission to provide year-round, safe and sustainable production of high quality fresh fruits and vegetables to even more markets and consumers around the world.”

Pure Harvest began production back in 2018 with tomatoes, but has since expanded their range of produce to include capsicums, melons, raspberries, blackberries, more than 26 varieties of tomatoes, over 14 kinds of greens, and nine varieties of strawberries; all in one of the harshest climates on earth.

Adrian Almeida, Chief Operating Officer for Pure Harvest, added: “I am incredibly excited to join the powerful team at Pure Harvest. The work they’re doing is nothing short of inspirational - creating a sustainable future by reimagining farming, and revolutionizing food production in a high yield and low impact way. This is something I’ve always been passionate about, and it’s a vision I’m fully committed to make real.”

“I believe that, working with the amazing talent and Pure Harvest, we can create a sustainable food model - sustainable socially, environmentally, and financially, and implement it worldwide; bringing the tastiest, highest quality, and freshest healthy food to peoples lives, no matter where they are in the world.”

Since Pure Harvest’s participation in the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund, the company has become the most funded startup in the Middle East, according to Forbes Magazine. They have raised over USD 387 million in a combination of equity, debt, and other finance.

Andrew Bolter, Chief Financial Officer, said: “I have always had a passion for food and was immediately impressed by the quality of Pure Harvest products and the clear value proposition to customers. I am thrilled to be joining a team of individuals who are committed to democratizing access to delicious, nutritious, safe sustainable produce. Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate enough to gain significant experience across a wide range of industries. I plan to apply the best practices I have learnt from industry leaders in these sectors to support Pure Harvest in growing to a global leader in the CEA space.”