Board Room

It’s a big kick in the gut to reckon with corporate bullies most adept at leading us to believe that we are truly free to choose, that they don’t actually use every resource to benefit their bottom line, and that they really are concerned with our best interests. And multinational seed and chemical corporation, Monsanto, doesn’t mind if you have no choice. They believe they’ve got the tools to solve the world’s food, fuel and fiber problems with GMOs, and that’s all you need to know–not that nearly 80 percent of all processed foods sold in the U.S. contain unlabeled genetically modified organisms (most bearing Monsanto patents on corn, soy, canola and cotton), or that favors from industry groups, politicians and fellow corporations are paramount to the proliferation of Monsanto’s main seed: Corporate Greed. Think that’s about to change anytime soon? Not after you see who sits on Monsanto’s board of directors.

A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who oversee the activities of a company or organization. In most cases it can require very little involvement in the day-to-day functioning of the governed entity, but it is typically always staffed with individuals vested in the best interest of the company or organization. In Monsanto’s case, several members of its board of directors aid in the proliferation of genetically modified seeds through their daily livelihood, continuing to insure that no regulations or transparency requirements be allowed in the U.S. on foods or household products containing genetically modified ingredients, which would not only affect Monsanto’s success, but that of their other corporate interests as well.

Janice L. Fields is president of McDonald’s USA. Elected to the Monsanto board in April 2008, her term expires in 2015. McDonald’s, like most other fast food restaurants, uses genetically modified ingredients (corn, soy and canola) in virtually all of their menu items. As the largest fast-food chain in the world, its food reaches nearly 70 million people every day.

C. Steven McMillan is a retired chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Corporation. He has served as a director on the Monsanto board since June 2000. His term expires in 2015. Sara Lee is a global consumer packaged goods company with more than 40 brand category leaders in frozen meals, snacks, meat products and beverages including Sara Lee, Hillshire Farm and Jimmy Dean, found in virtually every supermarket in the country.

Jon R. Moeller is Proctor & Gamble’s chief financial officer. Mr. Moeller was elected to the Monsanto board in August 2011 and his term expires in 2013. The Procter & Gamble Company is one of the world’s leading consumer products companies. Sales in 2011 reached $82.6 billion dollars from more than 40 household brands including Tide, Crest, Pampers, Cover Girl and Iams pet food. The brand is notoriously criticized for its rampant use of animal testing on a number of products, and items like diapers and feminine care products can often contain genetically modified cotton, while household items can contain not only alcohol derived from GMO corn, but also toxic chemicals with known health risks.

Other board members include prominent figures in the energy, technology and research sectors: former division CEO and executive vice president of General Electric, Arthur Harper; Robert J. Stevens, Lockheed Martin Corporation’s chairman and CEO; Laura Ipsen of CISCO’s Connected Energy Network; David L. Chicoine of South Dakota State University, a land grant research institution; William U. Parfet, chairman of the board of MPI Research preclinical toxicology research laboratory; Gwendolyn S. King, former vice president of PECO Energy Company; George H. Poste, Ph. D., D.V.M of Health Technology Networks, a consulting group specializing in the application of genomics technologies and computing in health care; and Hugh Grant, Monsanto’s CEO (not that Hugh Grant).

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Image: wohlford