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Agrimarketing : May 2015
2015 NAMA AGRIBUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR BRINGING PASSION TO ANIMAL HEALTH F by Karen Potratz, Bader Rutter ill a room with agribusiness executives and you’ll likely find some who grew up driving tractors or walking beans, and others who spent their youths milking cows or roping calves. But amid these natural-born aggies, you won’t find a leader with more passion for agriculture than Clint Lewis, who was raised in New York City and now serves as president of U.S. operations at Zoetis, the world’s largest animal health company. Eight years into his Zoetis role, Lewis has jumped headlong into the challenges facing U.S. livestock producers and earned the respect of industry colleagues — leading to his recognition as the 2015 National Agri-Marketing Association Agribusiness Leader of the Year. “I can’t think of a more passionate and committed leader in animal agriculture who did not come from a farming and ranching background than Clint Lewis,” says Forrest L. Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of theNational Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “He is not only an industry leader but also someone who is a student of innovation, value creation and customer service in today’s American agriculture.” While others recognize his accomplishments, Lewis chooses to praise the values of his adopted industry as well as the team supporting him. “I have developed a devout appreciation for agriculture and the people who work tirelessly in animal agriculture,” he says. “I am privileged and humbled to work in the animal health space. “I’m also privileged to have built a team in the U.S. that has earned EDITOR’S NOTE On May 5, Zoetis announced a company-wide operational efficiency initiative, which includes consolidating its structure from four regions to two. Under the new structure, Clint Lewis is now President of International Operations, and Kristin Peck is President of U.S. Operations. In his new role, Lewis oversees the management of the livestock and companion animal business markets outside the United States. AM 40 Agri Marketing s May 2015 Spending a day on a Wisconsin dairy operation with other Zoetis executives to gain hands-on experience with calf raising is one way Clint Lewis (l) has learned what it takes to bring value to animal health customers. market leadership in the eyes of our customers. Nobody gives you that leadership position. We’ve worked hard to achieve that leadership, and I give full recognition to the team who helped drive it.” SCIENCE AND BUSINESS The son of Jamaican-born parents who had long careers at the United Nations and Mobil Oil Corporation, Lewis grew up intrigued by science and business. His career has married those passions. Armed with a biology degree from Fairfield University, Lewis joined Pfizer in 1988 as a human pharmaceutical sales representative in Long Island, NY. He served in many commercial operations roles at Pfizer, rising to Vice President and General Manager of the U.S. Anti-Infectives/HIV business unit. Along the way, he completed a Master of Business Administration at Fairleigh Dickinson University. As his Pfizer career progressed, Lewis rubbed shoulders with Juan Ramón Alaix, now Chief Executive Officer of Zoetis. About 10 years ago, the two leaders worked on different continents — Alaix in Europe and Lewis in the United States — and, while sharing ideas in a meeting, they left clearly positive impressions on each other. In 2006, Alaix was named President of Pfizer Animal Health and a year later asked Lewis to join his organization as President of U.S. operations. “Juan Ramónwas a big influence on my decision to join Zoetis,” Lewis says. “In our company Juan Ramón is recognized as a very strong leader, and he is someone I definitely wanted to work for. His experience in running large and diverse operations has been a great inspiration for me.” LAUNCHING ZOETIS In 2013, five years after Lewis joined Pfizer Animal Health, Pfizer spun off its animal health operations into a (more on page 42)