Meet the Executive Team

The Westchester team is united by its commitment to agriculture. Our unique ability to offer expert advice about every aspect of agricultural investing stems from one thing: Agriculture is our only business. We understand every aspect of it — well enough to uncover opportunities most people don’t see. In markets around the world, our staff on the ground maintains strong local ties, supporting farmers and ensuring the success of our assets. They are able to quickly address opportunities and identify risks, using their deep knowledge of agriculture practices.


With employees in offices around the globe, 6 U.S. offices, 7 in Australia, 3 in Europe and 2 in Brazil and from senior management right down to our local representatives, our Westchester team has a passion for and a longstanding expertise in farming.


Executive Team

Martin Davies

President and Chief Executive Officer

Martin Davies’s 25 years in the agricultural industry have included posts within corporate agriculture, consultancy and investment. Prior to joining Westchester in September 2014 he led the deployment of institutional investors’ capital into farmland in New Zealand, Australia, Romania, Poland and Chile for Bank of New York Mellon’s asset management subsidiary Insight Investment. After 13 years with the Cooperative Group Farms in the UK, his lead into agricultural investing was 5 years spent working on agricultural investment projects for private investors in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine.  An Agricultural graduate of The University of Reading, Martin was Chairman of the 2017 Oxford Farming Conference. He was a 2006 Nuffield Scholar and is a member of the Institute of Agricultural Management and the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers.

 

Randall E. Pope

Director and Senior Advisor

Randall holds both a Bachelors degree in Agricultural Business and a Master's Degree in Agricultural Economics.  He joined Westchester in 1995 as a partner and President of the Company.  In 2010 he became President and CEO responsible for the day-to-day management of the company, asset and business strategy, asset performance, and underwriting and approving all agricultural investment activity.  Randall is a former member of the AgriFinance Magazine editorial advisory board, a founder and former Director of Partners for Agricultural Literacy, a frequent speaker at National and International Pension Fund and Agricultural Conferences and a past member of the National Agricultural Credit Committee.  He has been a frequent group leader at the Harvard Executive Agribusiness seminar and visiting professor at several agricultural colleges.

Mark Couchman

Chief Investment Officer & CEO Silverado

Chief Investment Officer & CEO Silverado.  Mark formerly served as President of Silverado Premium Properties, an investment fund devoted to achieving superior returns from developing and managing premium wine grape vineyards in California. The company currently oversees more than ten thousand acres of wine grapes in Napa Valley, Sonoma and the Central Coast regions of California and sells wine grapes to over 85 winery customers in California. Mark also oversees Plata Wine Partners, an affiliate of Silverado, which processes grapes into wine for a number of wholesale customers. Mark founded Silverado Premium Properties with his partner David Freed in 1997 and brings to Silverado a background that combines both agricultural experience along with commercial real estate and capital markets expertise.

     Prior to 1997, Mark was Executive Vice President in charge of real estate acquisitions for G.E. Capital Investment Advisors in San Francisco. At G.E. Mark managed a national acquisitions team acquiring commercial properties for pension fund and other institutional clients.

     Mark received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of California at Davis and his Masters of Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.

Kenny Traynom

Chief Operating Officer & CEO US Row Crops

Kenny joined Westchester as Executive Vice President in 2013.  He has twenty-three years of experience in corporate finance, strategy and mergers & acquisitions, primarily in the agricultural sector.  Before joining Westchester, Kenny was President of Ritter Agribusiness Holdings, a diversified agricultural holding company based in the Southern US.  He graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arkansas and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley.  Kenny holds the designation of Accredited Farm Manager (AFM).

Matt Bull

Executive Vice President & Australia CEO

Matt joined Westchester in 2010 as CEO of Westchester Group of Australia (WGA), based in Wagga Wagga (regional NSW), after spending over a decade with Rabobank in a variety of different roles both domestically and internationally. Matt is a member of the Global Investment Committee and the Executive Management Team of Westchester, and he oversees the general management and business activities of Westchester in Australia. He is a fifth generational family farmer with over 20 years of professional agribusiness experience, including: direct primary production, global financial markets, investment products, and client relationship management (at both a primary producer and corporate/institutional level). Matt holds an MBA (corporate governance), a Graduate Diploma in Finance & Investment, Bachelor in applied Science (Agribusiness), and other Diploma’s in Farm Management, Real Estate and Property Valuation.

Henrique Freitas

Executive Vice President & CEO WGSA

Henrique Americano de Freitas is the Chief Executive Officer of Westchester Group South America (formally Radar), a TIAA company, managing an extensive farmland portfolio for fund investors. Henrique has over 20 years of experience working in Brazilian agribusiness where he has held various leadership positions in large companies. Prior to his appointment at Westchester, he worked for Minerva S/A, a leader in beef production in South America, heading the company’s export business, and for Louis Dreyfus Commodities for nearly 20 years where he was most recently the head of the Company’s orange juice platform, managing 9,000 employees across Brazil and Europe. Henrique has a degree in Agronomic Engineering from the University of São Paulo / ESALQ and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri, as a Fulbright scholar.

Rory T. Robertson

Executive Vice President & CEO Horticultural Assets

Rory joined Westchester as Executive Vice President in 2009.  At WGIM, Rory is responsible for all investment and management activities in the Western United States. He is experienced in acquiring, developing, and managing most of the major crops grown in the region; including almonds, pistachios, walnuts, wine grapes, table grapes, prunes, oranges, lemons, tangerines, avocados, apples, pears, cherries, vegetables, and a variety of row crops.  Rory received both Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Agricultural Economics from the University of California, Davis.  He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and holds real estate broker licenses in both California and Washington.

Peter Bryde

Executive Vice President & CEO Westchester Group of Europe

Peter Bryde, Executive Vice President, CEO WGE, joined Westchester in September 2017, prior to which he had worked for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (‘EBRD’) for a combined 18 years. The majority of Peter’s time with EBRD was spend in their agribusiness department where Peter ultimately progressed to Deputy Director. During the last 4 years at EBRD, Peter looked after EBRD’s direct equity portfolio with about 200 investments with a cost of around Euro 4.5bn. In between Peter’s two stints at EBRD, Peter worked for Standard Bank heading up their Agribusiness department, looking at agribusiness opportunities in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union and to a lesser extent in South America. Peter is a Danish national and has a master’s degree in finance from Copenhagen Business School.

Duane R. Nelson

Executive Vice President & CLRO

Duane Nelson is Executive Vice President and Chief Compliance, Legal and Risk Officer for Westchester.  Prior to joining Westchester, Duane was an Associate General Counsel in the Asset Management Law area of TIAA.  He has over 25 years of experience in real estate, real estate finance, capital markets, loan workouts, and securities, as well as the formation and operation of private equity funds.  Duane was counsel for real estate investments at Citigroup Alternative Investments where he was responsible for an $8 billion global real estate investment unit portfolio and involved in the formation of 15 debt and equity funds.  Mr. Nelson earned a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. in Economics from Yale University.

Michael Robinson

Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

As Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Michael oversees the global accounting, finance and treasury functions within Westchester.  This function involves both direct management of Westchester’s internal staff/corporate financial information as well as the day-to-day financial oversight of the over mulit-billion dollar agricultural portfolio managed by Westchester.   Michael joined Westchester in 2009 as Corporate Controller.

     Prior to joining Westchester, Michael was a financial services assurance manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago.  He worked with some of the firm’s largest financial services clients specializing in the areas of investment management, banking and broker-dealers.

     Michael has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Consumer Economics and a Masters of Accounting Science both from the University of Illinois.  He is a CPA and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Board Members

Martin Davies

Director

Martin joined Westchester in 2014 as Executive Vice President and CEO of Westchester Group of Europe Ltd. Based in Cambridge, Martin is responsible for managing Westchester’s European investment platform as well as building the farmland investment business in Europe. Martin’s 25 years of agricultural experience have included practical farming and investment. He was Head of Farming Operations for the UK’s largest farming business before working on agricultural investment projects in Romania, Poland, Bulgaria and Ukraine for private investors. Prior to joining Westchester he lead the deployment of institutional investors capital into farmland in New Zealand, Australia, Romania, Poland and Chile for a London-based asset management subsidiary of Bank of New York Mellon. Martin has a Degree in Agriculture and Farm Management from Reading University and is a qualified Agronomist. He is a member of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers and Institute of Agricultural Management. As a steering group member, he helps guide Agribenchmark, a global cash crop benchmarking initiative. Martin was a 2006 Nuffield Scholar and is a Director of the Oxford Farming Conference.

Scott Grace

Director

Scott Grace is responsible for driving the strategy formulation for the Global Investments organization. His team is responsible for supporting the development, evaluation and execution of strategic planning and initiatives as well as organic and inorganic opportunities within our affiliates and Nuveen more broadly. Since joining Nuveen in 2009, he has held senior leadership positions in Corporate Finance & Development and Global Structured Products. Previously Scott held leadership positions at Janus Capital Group, Morgan Stanley and other firms. Scott earned his Chartered Accountant Designation and received a bachelor’s degree in commerce, administrative and commercial studies from the University of Western Ontario.

John MacCarthy

Director

John MacCarthy is the Chief Operating Officer of TIAA Global Real Assets, which encompasses various asset classes including global real estate, agriculture, timber, infrastructure and energy, as well as subsidiaries TH Real Estate, Westchester Group Investment Management, GreenWood Resources and Churchill Asset Management. Prior to this role, he served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Nuveen Investments. Mr. MacCarthy joined Nuveen Investments as General Counsel in 2006, heading the Legal and Compliance teams and serving on the Executive Committee. Before joining Nuveen, he held various positions at the law firm of Winston & Strawn LLP, including Chairman of the Corporate Department as well as being a member of Winston’s Executive Committee from 2001 to 2006. Mr. MacCarthy received a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a JD from Stanford Law School. He is Chairman of the Board of Metropolitan Family Services and is also active in other charitable organizations.

Biff Ourso

Chairman and Director

Biff Ourso is a managing director and head of Nuveen Natural Resources. Based in North Carolina, Mr. Ourso leads and manages the Company’s natural resource asset management platform comprising more than $10 billion under management (as of June 30, 2017). He is responsible for developing the strategic direction and execution of the Company’s business plans across the farmland, timberland, and agribusiness sectors. He also participates on the investment committees for farmland, timberland, and agribusiness strategies managed by Nuveen and its affiliates. In a previous role with the firm, Mr. Ourso served as the Portfolio Manager for Nuveen’s farmland and timberland portfolios along with the investment teams of those strategies. Mr. Ourso supported the development of TIAA’s agricultural investment platform since its inception in 2007, and in previous assignments at TIAA, he conducted privately-placed debt underwriting and portfolio management. Mr. Ourso holds a B.A in Economics from Davidson College where he was a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, an international economics honor society, and he also is a CFA charterholder.

Randall E. Pope

Vice Chairman, Director and Senior Advisor

Randall holds both a Bachelors degree in Agricultural Business and a Master's Degree in Agricultural Economics.  He joined Westchester in 1995 as a partner and President of the Company.  In 2010 he became President and CEO responsible for the day-to-day management of the company, asset and business strategy, asset performance, and underwriting and approving all agricultural investment activity.  Randall is a former member of the AgriFinance Magazine editorial advisory board, a founder and former Director of Partners for Agricultural Literacy, a frequent speaker at National and International Pension Fund and Agricultural Conferences and a past member of the National Agricultural Credit Committee.  He has been a frequent group leader at the Harvard Executive Agribusiness seminar and visiting professor at several agricultural colleges.