AquaBounty promotes David Melbourne to CEO

He replaces Sylvia Wulf, who will continue to serve as the non-executive Board Chair of AquaBounty’s Board of Directors.
David Melbourne, Aquabounty's new President & CEO.

A new reshuffle at the top of AquaBounty leaves David Melbourne as President and CEO.

Photo: Aquabounty Technologies.

AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. announced that David F. Melbourne Jr., who previously held the position of President, has been promoted again and will now hold the dual position of President and Chief Executive Officer. The announcement was made by his predecessor as CEO, Sylvia Wulf, who also serves as the company's Board Chair. The handover will take place with immediate effect. 

Wulf, who following the reshuffle will continue as the non-executive Board Chair of AquaBounty's Board of Directors, said this move has been part of the long-term succession plan for the land-based aquaculture company's leadership team, beginning with his promotion from Chief Commercial Officer to President in August 2023.

Critical point in time for AquaBounty

In its announcement of the appointment, AquaBounty noted that David Melbourne has already managed the company's day-to-day business functions for the past year. "The Board recognizes the outstanding contributions and leadership he has provided over the last year, including his role in the efficient shutdown of our Indiana farm," said Sylvia Wulf.

With this promotion, AquaBounty's new President and CEO will assume additional responsibilities for the business, including leading its pursuit of a variety of financing options and strategic alternatives, as well as investor relations and strategic initiatives to achieve the company's growth plans.

"Dave is a transformational leader and I have full confidence in his ability to take the reins at this critical point in time," Wulf continued. "I look forward to working with him in my continued role as Board Chair," she concluded.

As the non-executive Chairman of the Board said, the land-based aquaculture company is at a critical point. The company - which despite a 14% increase in total production, closed 2023 with a drastic drop in cash reserves - announced in February this year that it was putting its Indiana salmon farm up for sale.

"The proceeds from the sale of the Indiana farm will provide added liquidity to strengthen AquaBounty’s balance sheet," Wulf explained then. But, although taken with the long term in mind, in the short term, the decision had a direct impact on the financial results for Q1 2024 in which AquaBounty's losses increased by 72 percent.

As WeAreAquaculture reported, preparing the Indiana farm for sale not only required the company to perform an impairment analysis of the farm's long-lived assets - resulting in non-cash charges to the company - but also forced it to accelerate the harvest of all fish on the tanks, affecting reported revenues.

Pushing forward on financing and strategic alternatives

Melbourne, who joined AquaBounty in June 2019 as Chief Commercial Officer and, as mentioned, was appointed President in August 2023, has a background in general management, operations, and commercial management and innovation. Despite the demanding moment at which he is taking the reins of the company, the now President and CEO was delighted with the challenge ahead.

"I am excited for the opportunity to lead the incredible AquaBounty team as its Chief Executive Officer, and together, deliver the financing required to stabilize the business in the short-term, and put in place the strategic imperatives to achieve our longer-term growth plans to benefit our Company and stockholders," David Melbourne said.

In his remarks following the appointment, Melbourne said his immediate focus will be on securing the financing required to maintain liquidity and support the company's current operations. "Working in conjunction with our investment banking partner, we will prioritize completing the sale of the Indiana farm and aggressively push forward on identifying and finalizing financing and strategic alternatives," he declared.

"We have made great progress over the last five years across all areas of our business," he continued. "We have leveraged our advantages of vertical integration; refined and improved our operational expertise and technical capabilities; made important strides forward in our breeding, genetics, and fish health and nutrition initiatives; and successfully launched our salmon into the U.S. and Canadian markets."

"AquaBounty has a bright future, all supported by a strong, experienced and committed team. Together, we will face the challenges and look forward to driving continued progress," new President and CEO of AquaBounty, David Melbourne, concluded.

As his predecessor as CEO Sylvia Wulf told WeAreAquaculture in an exclusive interview, that future will involve, among other things, leveraging her partnership expertise to expand internationally. The first location for AquaBounty's international expansion will be Georgia.

About AquaBounty

AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. is a land-based fish farming expert raising Atlantic salmon from broodstock to grow-out, to supply nearby markets. It claims that its innovative land-based farms, combined with its expertise in genetic engineering, are the answer to the world's growing demand for high-quality seafood.

The company operates a broodstock and egg production farm on Prince Edward Island, Canada, while Q1 2024 has been the last quarter of activity of its grow-out farm located in Indiana, the U.S. Additionally, it is building another farm in Pioneer, Ohio, USA, and has a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Noble Salmon to build and operate a RAS salmon farm in the Republic of Georgia.

Related Stories

No stories found.