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Pam Marrone

Pam Marrone

Senior Fellow, Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems


  • Senior Fellow, Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems


Pamela G. Marrone is currently Executive Chairperson and Partner of Primary BioAg Innovations and Global BioAg Linkages, a pair of companies founded to help sincere innovators scale their bioag and agtech businesses and gain market adoption. She also advises six startups (biocontrol, precision ag, ag AI, consumer lawn & garden, plant nutraceutical and healthcare; five founded and led by women). In 2020, Marrone was awarded “The Most Admired CEO, Distinguished Career Award” by the Sacramento Business Journal.

Marrone retired August 2, 2020 as CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI), a company she started in 2006. On August 2, 2013, MBI listed its stock as MBII on NASDAQ. The company’s rapidly growing, award-winning bio-based products for pest management and plant health are used in fruit, nut, vegetable and row crop markets, globally. MBI also is marketing a product for invasive zebra and quagga mussels. MBI has several more products in the pipeline, including a bioherbicide and biofumigant. MBI received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award and a California Department of Pesticide Regulation IPM Innovator award.

Prior to MBI, In 1995, Marrone founded another agbio company, AgraQuest and served as its CEO, chairman and/or president until April 2006. AgraQuest was sold to Bayer for $475 million in 2012.

Before AgraQuest, she was founding president and business unit head for Entotech, Inc. from 1990 to 1995 in Davis, California, a successful biopesticide subsidiary of Denmark-based Novo Nordisk (sold to Abbott in 1995). Marrone led the Insect Biology group at Monsanto from 1983 to 1990, which was involved in pioneering projects in transgenic crops and natural products.

Marrone has been featured in national and trade press and on the radio many times and is in demand as speaker. In October 2014, Marrone was awarded Agrow’s “Best Manager with Strategic Vision” for her career-long leadership in biopesticides. Marrone received the National Resource Defense Council’s Growing Green Award in “Business Leader” category to recognize new pioneers in sustainable farming and food and in 2018 she was awarded EcoFarm’s Sustie Award for contributions to sustainable agriculture.

From June 2016 to June 2020, she was an alumni-elected trustee of Cornell University. Marrone is treasurer of the Association for Women in Science, is the past chair of the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists and is past-treasurer of the Organic Farming Research Foundation. She is founding chair of the Biopesticide Industry Alliance, a trade association of more than 100 biopesticide and related companies.

Marrone is on the University of California (UC), Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council and served previously on the UC Davis Graduate School of Management Dean’s Advisory Council and Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council.

Marrone was the Sacramento Chamber’s 2001 Businesswoman of the Year and Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences 2001 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient and a 2003 recipient of the UC Davis’ College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Alumni Award of Distinction. She holds more than 500 patents. She was elected by her peers as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Marrone has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a doctorate degree from North Carolina State University, both in entomology.