The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Board of Trustees has selected Bill Buckner as the organization’s new president and chief executive officer (CEO).

Buckner, who will begin his tenure on Jan. 16, 2012, most recently served as president and CEO of Bayer CropScience LP and has more than 30 years of experience within various agricultural industries.

“Bill Buckner is a proven leader with great integrity and foresight,” said Vivian DuBose, chair of the executive search committee and granddaughter of the organization’s founder, Lloyd Noble. “The board is confident that he will continue the Noble Foundation’s tradition of excellence and advance our mission to improve agriculture for the benefit of mankind.”

Buckner becomes the eighth president in the Noble Foundation’s 66-year history. He will replace Michael Cawley, who is retiring after two decades of leading the Ardmore, Okla., based foundation.

“My passion has always been agriculture, and the world has never needed agriculture more than it does right now,” Buckner said. “The Noble Foundation is a unique organization with the potential to radically impact agriculture on a global scale through its agricultural research and plant science. I am thankful and excited to be afforded the opportunity to lead this great organization into the next generation.” 

A Missouri native, Buckner earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1979 and then joined USS Agricultural Chemicals, a subsidiary of United States Steel Corporation, as a retail sales representative.

In 1982, he joined Commerce BankShares for three years as an agriculture loan officer before spending eight years with the animal health subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, Pitman-Moore, Inc., in Chicago where he ultimately became the company’s national sales manager.

In 1993, Buckner joined Bayer as a marketing executive in the Companion Animal Health business in Shawnee Mission, Kan. Through the course of the next decade, his career flourished as he worked in a series of international locations. In 1996, he moved to Monheim, Germany, where he worked for the company’s Animal Health Business Group as a business development manager. From Germany, he relocated to Toronto, Ontario, when he was selected as vice president and general manager of Bayer's Canadian Agricultural business in 1998. Four years later he was appointed to the role of president and CEO of the Canadian subsidiary, Bayer CropScience, Inc., in Calgary, Alberta.

Buckner relocated to Research Triangle Park, N.C., as senior vice president of the commercial operations for the U.S. subsidiary, Bayer CropScience LP in 2004.  In early 2005, he was appointed Country Head for the U.S. Crop Protection business and then selected North American Regional Head and president and CEO of Bayer CropScience, LP in April 2006.

“I have spent my entire career advocating the importance of agriculture, but I was only able to focus on one part of the industry at a time,” Buckner said. “However, the Noble Foundation impacts the entire spectrum of agriculture from scientific research and plant breeding to its direct link with farmers and ranchers. This is a special organization that has benefited and will continue to benefit the lives of agricultural producers in the Southern Great Plains and, in the future, around the world.” 

Buckner recently completed his two-year term as Chairman of the Board for CropLife America.  He is also on the Foundation Board of the National Wild Turkey Federation and sits on the board for Passage Home, a Raleigh, N.C., based nonprofit. In addition, Buckner sits on the steering committee for the North Carolina Agriculture Biotechnology Center. He is married and has four children.