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Agrimarketing : May 2015
2015 NAMA AGRIBUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR/ continued from page 40 new publicly traded company. The resulting organization, Zoetis, is the only major animal health company that is not embedded within a larger human health corporation. Lewis says the Zoetis launch has given him a platform to tell the animal health story to a larger audience, including investors who previously may not have been exposed to agriculture. The spinoff also lets Zoetis — and Lewis — focus energy solely on animal health. “Historically our organization always had a drive and passion for animal health, even though we were a small part of a large life science company,” he says. “But today, every one of our 9,000-plus colleagues globally is focused singularly on improving the health and well-being of animals and assisting those who care for them, whether they are livestock producers or veterinarians.” Lewis is gratified by customer feedback he has received since the company became Zoetis. “Our value is defined by our customers,” he says. “That is the vision that I try to articulate to our teams. It’s been refreshing to hear customers say they previously held Pfizer Animal Health in high regard, but they’ve seen an even greater level of support now that we’re Zoetis.” SO GOES ZOETIS Lewis has a keen sense of responsibility to support the livestock producers and industries he serves. “We have a little bit of a mantra here: So goes beef, dairy, pork and poultry, and so goes Zoetis,” Lewis says. “Zoetis has a core focus on helping these protein segments continue to be successful, vibrant and vital. As the most senior leader for Zoetis in the U.S., I make sure we’re making good on that commitment every day.” Lewis keeps abreast of issues facing these protein segments through periodic on-farm visits and through an annual series of executive forums. The Zoetissponsored executive forums bring together stakeholders for a 360degree view of each major livestock sector and the trends impacting 42 Agri Marketing s May 2015 Clint Lewis and Zoetis were strong supporters of “Animal Connections: Our Journey Together,” a mobile exhibit that helped educate the public about veterinary care during a two-year U.S. tour. Lewis is shown here introducing the exhibit to media at Chicago’s McCormick Place. them. For example, a recent Zoetis executive forum for the beef industry involved cow/calf operators, feedlot operations, packers, processors, veterinarians, academia and government representatives, as well as people from restaurants and supermarkets. Dairy, pork and poultry groups have similar executive gatherings. “Everyone brings a perspective, and in that regard, Zoetis is a participant just like everyone else, reflecting the animal health perspective,” Lewis says. “Each person gets to see industry trends not only through their lens but also through the lenses of others. So it helps them as they think about how they’re going to address these trends to successfully manage their animals, their operation, their clinic or their supermarket.” No doubt the participants learn as much from the forums as does Lewis. “That’s the goal. If they find relevance in these forums, Zoetis wins, too,” he says. TACKLING TOUGH ISSUES As the top executive at the largest U.S. animal health company, Lewis is on the front lines of the livestock industry’s toughest issues. Regulators, retailers and consumers are scrutinizing the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture more closely than ever before. Lewis has not only encouraged his organization to elevate the importance of judicious and responsible antibiotic use, but also has personally helped to direct industry conversations on the topic. One way is through his leadership roles with the Animal Health Institute (AHI), the animal health industry’s trade association. While Chairman of AHI from 2011 to 2012, Lewis helped influence legislation that could either support or stand in the way of a robust livestock industry. For example, he played a key role in working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to frame a rational and science-based approach to how antibiotics are used in animal feed. “It’s all about protecting consumer confidence while protecting livestock producers’ freedom to operate so they can continue to produce the most abundant and safest food in the world,” he says. Veterinary oversight of antibiotic use is an important element to maintain that freedom to operate, Lewis says. “We believe it is important to elevate the critical role of the veterinarian as the key practitioner to maintain and elevate the herd’s health status,” Lewis says. Lewis has put teeth into that philosophy at Zoetis through its “Commitment to Veterinarians” program, launched under his leadership in 2010. Zoetis donates millions of dollars and countless (more on page 44)