The amalgamation of Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) and Cereals Canada meant finding a new chief executive officer. That role is now filled by Dean Dias, who comes from the Cigi side and brings years of experience in a variety of roles.
“When I first moved to Canada in 2006, from Mumbai, India, I never thought that agriculture would be the industry that I would fall in love with,” says Dias. “Because growing up in Mumbai, you know, it’s a metropolitan city.”
Once Dias finished his education in Winnipeg he started working for Cigi, and realized the impact of the agriculture industry both for Canada, and globally. Dias’s lightbulb moment was when he realized the respect globally for Canadian grains, and that it’s an incredible industry to be a part of, providing food for people around the world.
Dias has had many roles at Cigi over the past 11 years, including managing various programs, director of value chain relations, and most recently serving as interim CEO for Cigi. That has meant he’s been working closely with Cam Dahl, now chief strategy officer, on the merger. The merger was completed on June 1, and was a milestone achievement for the two organizations.
“For me, Cam is inspirational, a highly respected leader in the Canadian agriculture industry, and him being part of this team will play a pivotal role in the development and success of this organization,” says Dias. “Cam will be focused mostly on policy, government relations, and market access, and that together with my knowledge based on market development and support for customers, I think it is a complimentary relationship that will help develop this organization for success.” (Story continues below player.)
Cereals Canada is now a complete organization that, moving forward, will provide support for customers and members. The governance structure is set up as 50 per cent producers and 50 per cent industry. The producer pillar is made up of farmers from across the Prairies and Ontario. The industry pillar is made of exporters, life science companies, and processors. There are 16 board members, eight from each pillar.
“I believe that the diversity of experience I’ve gained over the years is going to be beneficial with dealing with customers from around the world,” says Dias. Since Canada is an export oriented country, it’s important to have relationships with our export partners, and Dias has good relationships with them. Dias believes he has an excellent team of highly qualified individuals that will provide value for members and develop new markets, while still maintaining current markets, and resolving current market access issues.