Novus International's Thad Simons named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year in the Distribution and Manufacturing Category

Simons honored for growing Novus into a diversified industry leader, “displaying the willingness to take risks and explore untested markets”

November 18, 2010

Novus International’s Thad Simons named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year in the Distribution and Manufacturing Category

Novus President and CEO Thad Simons has been selected from among nearly 300 regional candidates throughout the US as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year in Distribution and Manufacturing.

Simons received the national award at a gala Sunday night in Palm Springs, CA, “for transforming Novus International, Inc. from a one-product spinoff from Monsanto (in 1991) into a diversified, global manufacturer of health and nutrition products for livestock, pets and people,” according to Ernst & Young.

Novus International, based in Missouri Research Park in St. Charles, creates science-based health and nutrition solutions for the poultry, swine, dairy, beef, aquaculture, companion animal and human markets.

Since 1991, Novus - whose guiding vision is “helping to feed the world affordable, wholesome food” - has brought to market more than 100 new products. The company now has employees working in more than 90 countries serving more than 2,500 customers worldwide.

And despite economic challenges caused by the global recession in recent years, Simons has continued to guide Novus forward, growing the number of employees from 300 to over 800 globally and achieving annual sales of nearly $1 billion. He has expanded Novus’s innovative product portfolio, established new markets and expanded the business into new geographies worldwide.
Simons was presented the award at the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum, the nation’s premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies.

In presenting the award, now in its 24th year, Bryan Pearce, Americas Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year, Ernst & Young LLP, said: “Successful entrepreneurs need to take risks and leave comfortable positions behind to build new companies in untested markets. Thad Simons has done just that. By constantly seeking opportunities in products and geographic markets where established companies had yet to tread, Simons built Novus into a 90-country powerhouse. He is very deserving of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2010 award in the Distribution and Manufacturing category.”

Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious award for entrepreneurs. It encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses. Besides Simons, awards also were given to individuals in nine other categories.
Sunday night’s award comes on the heels of Simons being named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year for 2010 last June in the Bioscience category among companies in the Central Midwest region, which qualified him for the national recognition.

While Simons was working on Monsanto’s legal team in St. Louis in 1991, an opportunity carrying significant risk presented itself: The chance to become general counsel of Novus, a business being spun off by Monsanto. His entrepreneurial spirit piqued, Simons took the job.

Novus was a company with one highly successful product that served the poultry industry. Simons saw the need to diversify and was put in charge of corporate development and growth. In 2001, he was named CEO and began implementing a strategic plan. Among his initial challenges was how to manage an organization that was successful and growing very fast, but was somewhat narrow.

Simons took steps to diversify and balance Novus’s product offerings, while maintaining its R&D and technology investments in order to have a base from which to grow. He converted Novus’s network of global distributors into direct sales organizations, particularly in Southeast Asia. Since most competitors were slow to see potential in Asia, the company gained a significant competitive edge. Today, Novus has employees working in 90 countries and is expanding internationally, most recently into Africa.

Simons has fostered a corporate culture with a focus on sustainability. Novus is concerned both about the environment and the performance or efficiency of its products. In giving back, Simons donates his time by serving on a number of boards, including the World Affairs Council, the World Agricultural Forum and the St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum. Novus is a generous contributor to United Way and a number of St. Louis area organizations.

Simons is also a strong supporter of educational efforts to promote animal health and nutrition. The Novus Global Scholars program, for example, collaborates with organizations and universities throughout the world with the aim of sharing knowledge to prepare the next generation of agricultural leaders.

View a video clip of Thad Simons accepting the award at the Ernst & Young YouTube Channel.