Monsanto Canada’s ‘legacy’ head office at the University of Manitoba’s SmartPark in Winnipeg will close by Sept. 1, 2019, Trish Jordan, public and industry affairs director for Bayer Canada’s CropScience Division, confirmed in an interview Oct. 12.
It’s part of Bayer’s US$63-billion purchase of Monsanto in June.
Bayer Canada’s CropScience Division is headquartered in Calgary and staff were told Oct. 11 it is staying there and Monsanto Canada’s former head office is closing, Jordan said.
Ninety-one legacy Monsanto employees — 68 of them full time — work at the Winnipeg facility, leased from the University of Manitoba.
However, that number also includes 20 people working on canola breeding and where they’ll work hasn’t been decided yet.
The same applies for legacy Monsanto staff at facilities on Berry St. in Winnipeg and at Carman and Headingley.
“There are some functional roles that might still remain at, or near, this Winnipeg location through July 2020 because there are a couple of projects more related to IT (information technology),” Jordan said.
While a date has been set to close the Winnipeg office, it still hasn’t been determined where those working there will now will be working in the future, she said.
“Nothing is changing immediately,” Jordan added. “We have a month or two to unveil the (new organization) structure. Probably the next thing will be unveiling the management team for Bayer CropScience Canada.”
Bayer is also closing its Regina office where 24 people currently work, Jordan said
A team made up of legacy Bayer and Monsanto employees looked objectively at where Bayer’s head office should be and picked Calgary, Jordan said.
“They looked at it from an unbiased perspective as much as possible and looked at the numbers and said, ‘which one makes the most sense for business continuity and which one makes the most sense for business success?’ and this is the decision that they made.
“For the commercial organization, and the enabling teams and product supply, all that is going to be operated out of the head office location in Calgary. There are good reasons for that. It helps with collaboration of different teams together and it certainly helps from a customer service perspective.
“That’s our No. 1 focus — to continue to service the customer and not have them seeing anything different.”
The next step is staff selection, Jordan said.
“Bayer has been very open in saying if there is more than one person for the role — say two sales managers in the same region — then they’ll both have to apply for the job,” Jordan said. “They’re not giving preferential treatment to legacy Bayer employees nor are they giving preferential treatment to legacy Monsanto employees.
“We don’t know at this time how many people will be relocated and what the impact will be. Just as the whole integration process continues in Canada and we get the structure out that’s going to really help to determine which roles are located where. Then there’s a selection process for all the roles and then the final move of the relocated roles should be completed by the end of summer 2019.”
A number of Bayer employees moved to BASF earlier this year when BASF purchased several Bayer assets including Invigor canola, Ignite herbicide, seed treatment products, Bayer’s digital farming software and seed research and development, including hybrid wheat.