Revamped Cereals Canada has new CEO, CSO

INDUSTRY | Dean Dias is the new CEO while former CEO Cam Dahl is the new chief strategy officer

Dean Dias is Cereals Canada’s new CEO.

The old CEO, Cam Dahl, is the revamped organization’s new chief strategy officer (CSO).

The appointments took effect Aug. 17.

Dias worked at the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) for about a decade, including most recently as director of value chain relations and interim CEO, until Cigi merged with Cereals Canada in June.

A new board of directors was created, chaired by Alberta farmer Todd Hames.

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Cereals Canada and Cigi voted to merge in April.

“Cereals Canada has retained that name but Cereals Canada is bigger and different than what it was before,” Hames said in an interview Aug. 18. “People need to get their heads around what Cereals Canada was and is.”

Dahl had been Cereals Canada’s CEO since its creation in 2013, following the dismantling of the Canadian Wheat Board in 2012. Part of the Cereals Canada mandate is to fill the market development and industry lobbying efforts vacated by the wheat board.

Cereals Canada’s goal is to enhance the value chain’s competitiveness.

Cigi was formed in 1972 by the wheat board and federal government to support domestic and international field crop processors with independent technical services such as end-use quality evaluations and milling and end-use support. It will maintain its brand within Cereals Canada, outgoing Cigi chair Trent Rude said in an interview April 14.

The next step is to determine Cereals Canada’s new strategic plan, Hames said. To that end, Pivot Turn Consulting has been hired.

Hames hopes a plan is developed by fall.

“Dean (Dias) has a very enthusiastic vision and energy level to bring to this new organization,” Hames said. “Cam (Dahl) and Dean (Dias) have worked really well together and that’s going to continue and we’re quite excited about our future. A big part will be the strategy planning and we are starting that process here right away.”

Hames praised both Dias and Dahl for their collaborative approach to bring Cereals Canada and Cigi together, and trusting in the process to find a new CEO.

“It took us two years to amalgamate and a lot of talk,” Hames said. “We got that process done and then we selected a CEO and leadership, and now we’re working on our strategic plan, so we’re getting there. I think it’s going to be a reinvigorating process for the organization and a redefining of the organization.

“I really don’t think the definition is going to change drastically in any way, but it’s going to cement what our vision for the future is for the next number of years,” he added. “It will give us clear direction.”

In the meantime, Cereals Canada staff are moving into Cigi’s headquarters in the Canadian Grain Commission building in Winnipeg.

It made sense because Cereals Canada has fewer staff and Cigi has a lot of specialized milling and processing equipment, Hames said.

“That’s an important step because you start to become one,” he said.

The new Cereals Canada will continue to do many of the same things the old Cereals Canada and Cigi did.

Much of Dahl’s work involved policy, government relations, and market access issues and he will continue to focus on those as CSO, Hames said.

Cereals Canada, Cigi and the grain commission traditionally visit many Canadian grain customers in the fall to tell them about crop quality and quantity. That won’t happen this year because of COVID-19, Hames said.

“There was an evolution coming anyway for the modern (online) delivery of Cigi resources,” he added. “I don’t think the physical crop missions are going to end. They are on hold this year for sure. But I anticipate they will be back.”

About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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