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CEO of world's largest fertilizer maker Nutrien leaves job abruptly after 8 months

The CEO and president of the world’s largest fertilizer maker has abruptly resigned after just eight months on the job.

Mayo Schmidt has left Nutrien and resigned from its board. The Saskatoon company gave no reason for Schmidt’s sudden departure. 

Schmidt replaced Chuck Magro as CEO of Nutrien in early 2021. Formerly, he was CEO of Hydro One Ltd., an electrical utility in Ontario.

“We cannot comment on the specific details of his departure, as there are legal constraints on what we can say,” said Nutrien in a statement to the CBC on Tuesday.

“This change will not impact the strategic direction of the company. We will continue to advance our strategy of helping growers sustainability feed a growing population by leveraging the competitive advantages of our integrated business model.”

Nutrien was formed in 2018 by the merger of two large Canadian agriculture firms, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan and Agrium Inc. 

The company’s board of directors has launched a global search for a long-term replacement for Schmidt. 

“The timing is difficult to predict, but we would expect to complete the process in the second half of 2022,” Nutrien told CBC.

In the meantime, executive vice president and CEO of potash Ken Seitz has been named the company’s interim CEO. 

According to Bloomberg, Nutrien’s stock rose more than 50 per cent in 2021.

“The company is on track to post record results for the full year as fertilizer companies benefit from soaring demand from farmers and producers for nutrients. Still, its share performance lagged North American peers CF Industries Holdings Inc. and Mosaic Co.,” Bloomberg reports.

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