Burnham and Rochester Bring Expertise in Corporate Social Responsibility, ESG, Marketing, Emerging Growth and Technology
APRIL 13, 2021 — MOREHEAD, KY — AppHarvest, Inc. (NASDAQ: APPH, APPHW), a leading AgTech company, Public Benefit Corporation and Certified B Corp focused on farming more sustainably using 90 percent less water than open-field agriculture, today announced Ciara Burnham, an executive and investor with a track record of building growth businesses in financial services and social impact organizations, and Geof Rochester, a thought leader in CSR marketing at organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, will join its board of directors.
“Geof and Ciara both are dedicated to the AppHarvest mission to build a resilient food system,” said Jonathan Webb, AppHarvest Founder & CEO. “Ciara is a proven leader with tremendous experience working in organizations sitting at the intersection of ESG, impact and growth. Geof brings decades of experience in marketing and corporate social responsibility and has worked closely with AppHarvest including as chief marketing officer. I firmly believe that consumers increasingly will demand companies uphold the highest ESG standards as table stakes for doing business and these leaders will help take us to the next level.”
“The AppHarvest mission to grow food in a sustainable, ethical, and environmentally sensitive way by leveraging the best of nature and supplementing that with innovative technology resonates deeply with me,” said Burnham. “The company is at an inflection point of a strong growth curve, and my background in financial technology paired with my commitment to supporting social impact organizations makes this a compelling challenge and custom fit.” Burnham will serve on the both the audit and nominating-governance committees.
“Having spent much of my career focused on CSR strategy for NGOs, media companies and consumer goods brands, I am eager to leverage my network in support of AppHarvest’s growth as a broader sustainable foods company and to contribute to the mission of taking care of people, community and planet,” said Rochester. As part of the transition to the board role, Rochester will continue to serve in a short-term advisory capacity to complete some key brand-building initiatives.
Burnham and Rochester fill the board seats vacated by Equilibrium CEO and Chairman Dave Chen and Narya Capital Partner J.D. Vance. “We thank Dave and J.D. for being early investors who threw their full support into establishing AppHarvest as a mission-focused company doing good for people and planet,” said Webb.
Remaining AppHarvest board members include Jonathan Webb, AppHarvest founder and CEO; Anna Mason, Rise of the Rest Seed Funds partner; Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia founder; Bob Laiken, Novus Capital Corporation II chairman; David Lee, AppHarvest president; Greg Couch, Meridien Wealth Management founder and president; Jeffrey W. Ubben, Inclusive Capital Partners founder and managing partner; and Kiran Bhatraju, Arcadia Power founder and CEO.
About Ciara Burnham
Ciara Burnham is a seasoned investor, operator and strategist with more than 20 years of experience in building growth businesses in financial services. Ciara currently serves on the board of Fortitude Re, a multi-line reinsurance company, as the chair of the Risk & Capital committee and member of the audit committee. She also serves on the boards of the financial technology companies, OpenInvest and “blooom,” and as an adviser to Athena Technology Acquisition Corp., an all-women SPAC. Previously, she was a partner at QED Investors, a leading venture capital firm that actively supports high-growth businesses, focusing on emerging growth companies in the U.S. financial services ecosystem. Prior to that, she was a senior managing director with global investment bank Evercore, where she played a leadership role in the build out of the firm’s presence on a global basis; and served as CEO of Evercore Trust, a nationally chartered trust bank with over $50 billion in assets. Ciara is a founding limited partner of How Women Invest – a venture capital fund working to increase support for female founders. Ciara received an AB from Princeton University and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She serves as chair of the Board of Trustees of the non-profit Education Development Center and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School and the Dean’s Advisory Council of Princeton University.
About Geof Rochester
A marketing and corporate social responsibility leader with decades of experience, Geof has worked closely with AppHarvest. Previously, Geof served as chief marketing officer for The Nature Conservancy, where he led collaborations with major companies including Macy’s, Subway, Harley-Davidson, and Univision. Before joining TNC, Geof held marketing leadership roles at World Wrestling Entertainment, Showtime, Comcast, Radisson Hotel Group, and Procter & Gamble. Geof holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a thought-leader across corporate sustainability and CSR, NGOs, philanthropy and social entrepreneurship, serving on boards of environmental organizations such as ecoAmerica and Sustainable Brands. He speaks regularly on the topics of brand purpose and sustainability.
AppHarvest is an applied technology company building some of the world’s largest high-tech indoor farms in Appalachia that grow non-GMO, chemical pesticide-free produce using 90 percent less water than open-field agriculture and only recycled rainwater while producing yields up to 30 times that of traditional agriculture on the same amount of land with zero agricultural runoff. The Company combines conventional agricultural techniques with cutting-edge technology including artificial intelligence and robotics to improve access for all to nutritious food, farming more sustainably, building a domestic food supply, and increasing investment in Appalachia. The Company’s 60-acre Morehead, Ky. facility is among the largest indoor farms in the U.S. For more information, visit https://www.appharvest.com/.
Certain statements included in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements generally are accompanied by words such as “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “should,” “would,” “plan,” “predict,” “potential,” “seem,” “seek,” “future,” “outlook,” and similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters. All statements, other than statements of present or historical fact included in this press release, regarding AppHarvest’s future financial performance, as well as AppHarvest’s growth plans and strategy, ability to capitalize on commercial opportunities, future operations, estimated financial position, estimated adjusted EBITDA, revenues and losses, projected costs, prospects, plans and objectives of management are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on various assumptions, whether or not identified in this press release, and on the current expectations of AppHarvest’s management and are not predictions of actual performance. These forward-looking statements are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to serve as, and must not be relied on as, a guarantee, an assurance, a prediction, or a definitive statement of fact or probability. Actual events and circumstances are difficult or impossible to predict and will differ from assumptions. Many actual events and circumstances are beyond the control of AppHarvest. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including those discussed in the Registration Statement on Form S-1 (No. 333-252964) filed with the SEC by AppHarvest on February 10, 2021 under the heading “Risk Factors,” and other documents AppHarvest has filed, or that AppHarvest will file, with the SEC. If any of these risks materialize or our assumptions prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from the results implied by these forward-looking statements. In addition, forward-looking statements reflect AppHarvest’s expectations, plans, or forecasts of future events and views as of the date of this press release. AppHarvest anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause its assessments to change. However, while AppHarvest may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, AppHarvest specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing AppHarvest’s assessments of any date subsequent to the date of this press release. Accordingly, undue reliance should not be placed upon the forward-looking statements.