Bunge’s strong relationship with the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis was cemented March 13 with a ceremony dedicating the new Bunge Classroom in the Charles F. Knight Executive Education Center.
Bunge Limited is a leading worldwide agribusiness and food company with headquarters in White Plains, N.Y.; its North American operating arm is based in St. Louis.
The partnership began several years ago when Olin created customized leadership programs for Bunge executives. The programs have been successful for Bunge, and to show its support for the school’s innovative curriculum, it recently provided Olin with a gift of $300,000 for the Knight Center and to establish an endowed scholarship fund.
“We are grateful for this generous gift and appreciate Bunge’s ongoing relationship with Olin and applaud its commitment to developing its key managers,” said Mahendra Gupta, Ph.D., dean and the Geraldine J. and Robert L. Virgil Professor of Accounting and Management, at the dedication. The Bunge Scholarship Fund will support scholarships for undergraduate or graduate students in the Olin Business School.
Gupta also noted the presence of Bunge’s leaders among the crowd, including Alberto Weisser, chairman and chief executive officer of Bunge Limited, and Carl Hausmann, Bunge North America’s CEO. Hausmann serves on the University’s advisory committee for the International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy & Sustainability (I-CARES), is a member of Olin’s National Council and, with his wife, Silvia, serves on the Parents Council. Their daughter, Vanessa, is a freshman in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.
With more than 22,000 employees in more than 450 facilities in 32 countries, Bunge needed a way to communicate its vision to hundreds of executives across a vast, worldwide organization. The solution was Olin’s creation of a multiyear, modularized method custom-built by Olin faculty to address the company’s managerial needs. To date, hundreds of Bunge’s top executives have participated in these leadership development sessions. Close to 150 Bunge executives have completed the initial program, and another 100 executives have benefited from Olin’s second set of customized sessions, called the executive development program.
In his remarks, Hausmann gave his take on the benefits of the Olin/Bunge partnership: “Through these executive education programs, Washington University professors are bringing new research to our people in the workplace,” he said. “Our business is constantly evolving, and your teachers keep us on the cutting edge.”
“We are honored to have Bunge’s name as a permanent fixture in the Knight Center,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “Bunge and Washington University enjoy a dynamic partnership, and I am very grateful for its generous support.”
Founded in 1818, Bunge has integrated operations that circle the globe and stretch from the farmer’s field to the grocery shelf. Bunge North America is a vertically integrated food and feed ingredient company, supplying raw and processed agricultural commodities and specialized food ingredients to a wide range of customers in the livestock, poultry, food processor, foodservice and bakery industries. With headquarters in St. Louis, Bunge North America and its subsidiaries operate grain elevators, oilseed processing plants, edible oil refineries and packaging facilities, and corn dry mills in the United States, Canada and Mexico.