Meet CIOPORA Board
CIOPORA President & Board 2023 - 2026
Wendy Cashmore is a director of several New-Zealand based businesses. Her primary interest is the breeding and development of new apple varieties through her holding in Trajectory762 Limited. This is complemented with activities fostering capability development in businesses where more effective commercialization models and strategy to deliver new outcomes for plant variety intellectual assets is essential through Plant IP Partners Limited - a New Zealand-based plant variety IP consultancy company working internationally. Wendy has been an active member of CIOPORA since the 50th Anniversary of the association in Rome, 2011. Elected to the Board in 2014, Wendy served as a Vice President since 2017 and from 2023 as President of CIOPORA.
With a long professional history in the international fruit breeding and commercialisation world, Wendy is passionate about all aspects of plant variety intellectual property, plant breeding, and the communication and relationships that make those things successful.
Dean resides in Ecuador where he directs the greenhouse rose breeding, selection and marketing program of the E.G. Hill Company and its subsidiary International Rose Breeders LLC for the local and international markets. He has been heavily involved in the local IP laws and local and international enforcement and lobbying. Dean has a M.Sc. in Horticulture from The Ohio State University with a specialty area of plant and post-harvest physiology.
Michael is a UC Davis graduate and holds a Ph.D. in Plant Biology. After three years at a breeding company in the private sector, he came back to UC Davis to manage its highly competitive strawberry licensing program. For over 20 years in this position, he has been serving as the University’s liaison at the public-private interface and has acquired extensive experience in plant IP management and litigation. He also works as an instructor at UC Davis PIPRA/Law School licensing academy. Michael has been representing UC Davis Innovation-Access at CIOPORA since 2006 and, with his high rate of participation in CIOPORA events and the CIOPORA Academy workshops, he has long become a household name in CIOPORA.
Immmediate Past President
Steven Hutton is a third-generation nurseryman and the past President & CEO of the Conard-Pyle Company/Star Roses & Plants. He served many years as President of the National Association of Plant Patent Owners and was a member of the Board of the Wholesale Nursery Growers of America and a member of the International Plant Propagators’ Society. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Longwood Gardens, one of the world’s premier public gardens.
Steven was President of CIOPORA for 6 years (2017 - 2023) and had successfully worked on expanding CIOPORA’s outreach within the horticultural sector in his native USA and beyond. He has contributed tremendously to building CIOPORA’s relationships with the U.S. Government, including USPTO and USDA, and representation of CIOPORA members’ interests before competent authorities worldwide.
Chair Crop Section Cut Flowers
Ingrid Slangen is the Director of IP & Legal Affairs at Selecta one, Germany. Originally an English/Spanish translator by trade, during her career at Selecta, Ingrid has gathered extensive expertise in legal and plant IP matters. For over 18 years she has been working for Selecta, a world-leading breeder, producer, and marketer of asexually propagated ornamental plants with headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. As a Director of IP & Legal Affairs at Selecta, Ingrid is responsible for managing the company’s global IP portfolio as well as all licensing, contractual, and legal affairs. Right from the beginning, Ingrid represented Selecta in CIOPORA and became the Chair of the CIOPORA Crop Section Gypsophila (now, Cut Flowers) in 2013. In this position, Ingrid participated as an observer in many Board meetings before becoming an official Board member in 2020, and supports CIOPORA pro bono, including the representation of CIOPORA at the EU/CPVO.
Andrea is a fourth-generation breeder and nurseryman, whose family has been involved in ornamental plant breeding for a century. A Genova University graduate in Biological Sciences, Andrea has worked in horticulture since 1987. Currently, he owns a nursery in Sanremo, where he works on a hydrangea breeding program and production of energy from renewable sources.
Andrea is the Director of a family business devoted to the representation of third-party breeders and advising on international business, IP management, and ornamentals breeding. Andrea is a shareholder at NIRP International S.A. and served as R&D Director at NIRP East Africa. From 2011 to 2017, for two consecutive terms, he served as President of CIOPORA.
Born in roses on July 11th, 1977, Matthias started to learn breeding at age 4 with his grandmother Louisette Meilland in the field of Antibes, in the south of France. At age 7, he was proposed to have a rose named after him and Meifolio became his first selection. As a teenager, he followed his father, Alain Meilland, in Central and South America while he was developing the cut flower industry. He studied general arts in California and developed his video production company. He edited the explanatory video for the 50th Anniversary of CIOPORA, which was held in Rome in 2011. Matthias was proposed by the family to become the public relations of the House of Meilland in 2013. Today, he is leading the development in Asia and Oceania with a focus on Chinese PBR enforcement and managing marketing & sales of the house of Meilland.
Kim van Rijssen
Kim van Rijssen is second generation co-owner of Plantipp BV. Plantipp supports and represents plant breeders from all over the world by managing their varieties. This includes plant protection, licensing, royalty management and marketing. Plantipp’s main focus is on trees, shrubs, perennial plants and cut flowers. Kim is responsible for PBR, plant patents and trademarks worldwide, including the EU, UK, USA, Japan, Australia, South-Korea, Canada, etc. Plantipp has a sister company in the USA called Concept Plants.
Kim graduated from Leiden University and Utrecht University and moved to China shortly after. She currently lives in Belgium. Kim and her colleagues are often on the road visiting plant breeders and growers all over the world. Plantipp has been a member of CIOPORA since 2019, representing over 200 independent plant breeders.
Dr. Viresh Ramburan
Viresh has been involved in intellectual property, business development and commercial management in agriculture for more than 15 years; he is specifically interested models for innovation in agriculture, technology transfer, and entrepreneurship. He completed undergraduate training in agriculture with a specialization in genetics and plant breeding followed by a Ph.D. Agric in Molecular Genetics at Stellenbosch University, followed by business and IP studies.
At Citrogold, he is involved in an Executive capacity in South African and international operations. He is also an Executive at the holding company of Citrogold, which has operations in nurseries, farming, packing, and marketing in South Africa. Citrogold is involved with intellectual property management in horticulture, focusing on fruit trees. It is also involved with breeding, evaluation and commercializing new cultivars of citrus and sub-tropical crops.
After receiving her PhD within Evolutionary Biology, Tosca started her career in plant breeding as a geneticist Hazera Seeds - part of group Limagrain. After being promoted to Director Breeding Technology her focal point was to develop, protect and implement novel traits for the breeding pipelines of the Allium and Crucifer crops.
In 2016, she moved from the vegetable industry to the ornamental industry by taking on the position of Research Director at Dümmen Orange where she developed and implemented the research strategy: developing unique pathogen resistance traits along with tools to innovate the breeding for complex agronomical traits.
In 2023, Tosca was promoted to Director Global Product Management with the aim to fast-track the market penetration of the Dümmen Orange innovations.
An Van den Putte
After graduating as Master of Bioscience Engineering at the KU Leuven, An Van den Putte initially worked as a researcher, first on berries at a research station and then on apple at the KU Leuven and Better3fruit (a spin-off company of the KU Leuven). She also took on the responsibility for IP matters within Better3fruit, which quickly developed in her full-time job. Today she has and additional Master in Intellectual Property Rights and 20 years of experience managing IP rights and licenses.
An has represented Better3fruit within CIOPORA since joining in 2006. She served as chair of the CIOPPORA Fruit Section from 2014 to 2020 and as such was an observer in the CIOPORA board meetings and represented CIOPORA at various (mostly technical) meetings of the CPVO and UPOV.
Jan Wouter van Eck
After graduating from the University in applied science (Botany, Horticulture) in Wageningen, The Netherlands in 1988, Jan worked for several research projects aimed at the development of new objective measurements of plant characteristics (e.g., color and shape by image analysis) used within the UPOV technical guidelines to determine the difference between plant varieties.
He has also been active as chair of the Fruit Crop Section within CIOPORA and from that position appointed as an observer to attend its board meetings. In addition, he is an active member of the IP advisory committee of the Dutch breeders’ and nursery association Plantum and the soft fruit advisory committee of the Dutch Plant Health Inspection Naktuinbouw, including issues like maintaining, certification and export/import of plant material.