Dr. Pamela Marrone spent her long and distinguished career focused on biological products for pest management and plant health. In August 2020, Marrone retired as chief executive officer of Marrone Bio Innovations (MBI), an agricultural biological company she founded in 2006. On August 2, 2013, MBI listed its stock as MBII on NASDAQ. Under her leadership, the company commercialized 10 products from six EPA-registered active ingredients (microbials and biochemicals), and in 2019 acquired Pro Farm Technologies selling bionutrient seed treatments from wood waste. From 2015 to 2019, Marrone Bio grew by 32 percent annually and increased gross margins from five percent to 56 percent.
Prior to establishing MBI, Marrone founded AgraQuest in 1995, where she served as its CEO, chairman and president until 2006. The company’s bio fungicide serenade, which won the Presidential Green Chemistry Award, became the global bio fungicide standard and was the first organic product in Wal-Mart’s garden section in 2003. Before AgraQuest, she was founding president of Entotech, Inc., a biopesticide subsidiary of Novo Nordisk. Marrone started her career in biologicals by leading the Insect Biology group at Monsanto, which was involved in pioneering projects based on microbial natural products and plant biotechnology.
Marrone is a well-recognized leader in the agricultural biologicals industry as evidenced by several rewards, including: “Most Admired CEO, Distinguished Career Award”in the Sacramento Business Journal, the “Sustie” award by the Ecological Farming Association, Agrow’s“Best Manager with Strategic Vision”and the NRDC’s Growing Green Award in “Business Leader” category.
Marroneis the founder of the Bioproducts Industry Alliance, now a trade group of more than 10 companies. She currently serves on the University of California (UC) Davis Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council and served four years as an alumni-elected Trustee of Cornell University. She co-founded the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) and served many years as treasurer and board member of the national AWIS. She is a senior fellow of the Arizona State University Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems. She serves on the boards of 180 Life Sciences, Stem Express and Pheronym and advises several other industry related startups, most founded or led by women. She holds several hundred patents and is in high demand to deliver keynote addresses on biologicals for pest management, innovation and entrepreneurship. She was elected by her peers as a fellow of AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science).
Marrone has twice taken a company from founding to scaling to many tens of millions in revenues and is currently only one in 32 women founders to have taken a company public. She is proficient in raising debt and equity, doing turnarounds, navigating companies through major crises, leading M&A, commercializing products and building robust patent portfolios.
She has a bachelor’s degree in entomology with honors and distinction from Cornell University and a doctorate degree in entomology from North Carolina State University.