Presidential Role Awaits John Deere’s Kovar

Deanna Kovar.

Moline, Illinois, United States: As part of its long-term succession plan, John Deere is appointing Deanna Kovar as the future President of its Agricultural Machinery business, effective from November 1.

Kovar, who previously led the Precision Agriculture business unit, will oversee two regions –Africa, Middle East and Asia, and Europe and CIS – as President for the Agricultural Equipment and Turf businesses. 

Kovar will spend the remainder of this fiscal year familiarising herself with the new role in addition to her existing responsibilities.

As of November 1, she will then be given full responsibility for this post. On that date, Markwart von Pentz will assume an advisory role to CEO John May before his retirement in 2024.

“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished with John Deere in Europe, Africa and Asia over the past years. Now is a perfect moment to pass on the baton and I can think of no better successor than Deanna,” said von Pentz.

Von Pentz, 60, has been one of two global presidents of the Agricultural Machinery business since 2007. In his period as a Board member, even for John Deere, he has played a major role in shaping and significantly strengthening the company’s position and economic power, particularly in South America, Europe and Asia, over 16 years. 

Von Pentz also set in motion the company’s realignment toward the digitisation of agriculture.

It is precisely in the digitalisation of agriculture that Kovar is a proven expert. In her previous position, she was responsible for the area of Precision Agriculture, and was instrumental in the company’s transformation into a ‘Smart Industrial Company’ and in the introduction of the John Deere Production Systems.

“For me, it was exciting to observe Mark’s early commitment to digitalisation and our common goal was always to meet the complex and digital demands of farmers,” Kovar described her co-operation with her predecessor.

In the transition phase to the new position as Head of Public Europe, she will be trained by von Pentz in the small and medium-sized agricultural machinery and turf divisions.

Kovar, 45, who hails from Wisconsin, has been with John Deere since 2000. During her career, she has held various leadership positions and worked closely with the four John Deere regions. Key roles have included sales, marketing, customer service and product development.

In recent years, she has consistently worked closely with von Pentz. As Head of Europe, she will relocate to the Mannheim region of Germany with her family.

Von Pentz started in 1988 as a student trainee in Mannheim and has since spent his entire professional career with John Deere. His first role was as a financial auditor at the European headquarters, responsible for strategic alliances in Europe, before becoming responsible for international and later German sales.

After three years in the US as Vice President Marketing, he was appointed to the Executive Board for his current role at the age of 44. Keeping in touch with sales partners, farmers, and employees in a wide range of company departments is particularly important to him.

“I will definitely continue to maintain close contact with agriculture in the coming years. For me, the current transformation of our industry is an exciting journey,” said von Pentz, who is looking forward to the next phase in his life after the gradual transition.

John Deere is an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.

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