Why Bayer’s Antoine Bernet Loves Alberta

by | Feb 7, 2024 | Business

From France to Denmark to Poland and now to Canada, Antoine Bernet has a singular vision: to cultivate success for Bayer’s customers and to use his cross-country knowledge to do it.

He’s spent the past seven months hitting the ground running in his new role as country division head for Bayer Crop Science Canada, a role he took over for Al Driver, who retired in 2023.

Bernet’s journey in the agricultural sector began in France, where a scientific background in agronomy laid the foundation for his curiosity about customer relationships. Transitioning to business management, he entered the information technology realm, driven by a keen interest in understanding the factors influencing customer decisions.

Bernet, who gave opening remarks at last week’s CrossRoads Crop Conference in Calgary, began his career with Bayer more than 20 years ago, joining the Crop Science division in 2005. Most recently, he served as the Crop Science country division head for Poland, Baltics, Czech Republic and Slovakia, and has held previous leadership roles across sales and marketing.

During Bernet’s time with Bayer, he has delivered impressive growth and accelerated effective transformation initiatives that have contributed greatly to the ag world. He intends to take a similar visionary approach in Canada.

“I was always fascinated by customer relationships, what drives the decision at the customer level? Why does a customer decide to buy a product or solution or service?” he says.

Turns out, it’s the decision they make that said product or service will fulfill their needs, and that means they have to trust the provider who designed it.

Overseeing a team of over 550 people, Bernet emphasizes his leadership style built on transparency, trust and inclusivity.

“All farmers are different; they have different needs. So, we always need to be active listeners to really understand what is needed locally.”

“I like to bring different perspectives, listen to people, and bring people together to make a decision,” he says. His approach involves being an active listener and understanding the diversity within the team, valuing the various opinions and expertise that contribute to the decision-making process.

Drawing on lessons from previous roles in different regions and markets, Bernet highlights the importance of adapting solutions to local needs.

“All farmers are different; they have different needs. So, we always need to be active listeners to really understand what is needed locally.”

Applying this principle to Canada, he recognizes the similarities in crops but stresses the need for tailored solutions based on the unique agronomic situations in the region.

Seeding the Future of Agriculture in Canada

Looking ahead, Bernet expresses excitement about the future of crop science, particularly in the realm of seeds. With a focus on the canola business, he notes that Bayer Canada is investing a lot in new hybrids and germplasm. “We believe in the future of Canola as a strategic crop,” he says.

Outside the boardroom, Bernet has a love for the outdoors.

“I’m a big fan of skiing. I grew up close to the Alps in France, so I like to go to the Rockies during winter.”

Relocating to Canada with his family was a significant transition, but Bernet expresses joy in the warm welcome they received. Having previously lived in Poland, he notes the unique experiences of each country.

“Canada has a fantastic reputation. When I was told that we would come to Canada, we were so happy to go there. The welcoming of the Canadian people is just amazing. We really enjoy our life in Alberta.”


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