David Melbourne replacing Sylvia Wulf as CEO of AquaBounty Technologies

AquaBounty CEO David Melbourne
AquaBounty President David Melbourne has been appointed the CEO of the company | Photo courtesy of AquaBounty Technologies
4 Min

Harvard, Massachusetts, U.S.A.-headquartered AquaBounty Technologies has replaced CEO Sylvia Wulf with David Melbourne, who was serving as the company's president.

Melbourne worked for over four years as AquaBounty’s chief commercial officer before he was promoted in August 2023 to the position of president. Wulf was appointed CEO in November 2018, joining the company after serving as president of the manufacturing division at distributor US Foods. 

“This move has been part of our long-term succession plan for the leadership team, commencing with [Melbourne's] promotion from chief commercial officer to president in August 2023,” Wulf said in a release. “Over the last year, Dave has led day-to-day business functions for the company. 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.”

An AquaBounty spokesperson told SeafoodSource that the company has been planning to move Melbourne into the position, and Wulf was "integrally involved" with the process. 

AquaBounty recently said it plans to double down on its salmon recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility in Pioneer, Ohio, U.S.A. The company broke ground on the facility in April 2022 before construction cost escalations lead AquaBounty to pause construction.

Doubling down meant selling off its Indiana-based salmon RAS – a move which Wulf said would allow the company to increase its cash position and decrease its cash burn. The company acquired the Indiana-based facility in 2017 and used it as a platform to develop, test, and refine its RAS technology.

Selling off the Indiana facility impacted the company’s Q1 2024 results, as it necessitated harvesting any remaining fish in the RAS.

Now, that farm has been emptied, and Melbourne will lead AquaBounty’s push into Ohio.

“With his promotion, he will take on the additional responsibilities for the business, including leading our pursuit of a range of financing and strategic alternatives, as well as investor relations and strategic initiatives to achieve AquaBounty’s growth plans,” Wulf said. “Dave is a transformational leader, and I have full confidence in his ability to take the reins at this critical point in time.”

Melbourne said his first priority will be financing the Ohio project to take the company into its next chapter of development.

“My immediate focus will be on securing the required financing to maintain liquidity and support 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 said. “AquaBounty has a bright future, supported by a strong, experienced, and committed team. Together, we will face the challenges and look forward to driving continued progress.”  

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