Rupert Hargreaves

Having studied Horticulture at the University of Greenwich, Rupert has completed numerous executive courses at Loughborough Business School, Cranfield Business School and other institutions. He is a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers and a Freeman of The City of London. He currently is an Honorary Assistant to the Court of the Livery Company.

The 5 things you need to know about Rupert are the following:

* Rupert is a highly efficient company Director who successfully developed a large International berry and asparagus nursery while adding a world renowned intellectual property division, tissue culture business and ornamental plant company to the portfolio. A strong and well trained teamed were built from board room down to drive this business forward.

* Rupert has become a highly respected figure in the berry industry worldwide working with many international breeding programs, growers and marketing companies. The foresight to develop berry varietal and agronomy trials both in the UK and throughout the world proved invaluable to the rapid success of the company.

* Having studied Horticulture at the University of Greenwich Rupert continued his quest for continued personal and professional development by completing all sectors of the Institute of Directors training courses at Loughborough Business School, Gateway to Global Growth at Cranfield Business School and numerous other advanced training and team building courses. He is a Liveryman of the The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers and a Freeman of The City of London.

* Transforming his previous business from a family business to a larger corporation Rupert instigated growth at a rate of 10 times in 10 years. Having built a successful management team products were added to the portfolio and international market places exploited.

* Rupert lives in West Norfolk on the coast where he enjoys spending quality time with his son Fred and walking his dog. He can often be found in a swimming pool and has a strong passion for horse racing which can take him anywhere from Newmarket to Dubai. He is a keen traveller, loves cooking and has an affection for quality wine and fine dining.



Jamie Petchell

Jamie is an alumnus of Cranfield School of Management and Loughborough School of Business. He is a member of Institute of Directors and a member of the Livery Company “Worshipful Company of Fruiterers”.


The 5 things you need to know about Jamie are the following:

* Jamie became a Company Director at the age of 32 and oversaw the commercial growth of a plant propagation business based in the UK to one that was recognised across the world. This was both in terms of plant supply and Intellectual Property management.

* Jamie is well regarded around the world for his in depth knowledge of the asparagus crop, particularly in terms of varietal development and choice of plant material. He commissioned what were thought to be the largest asparagus hybrid trials in the world in 2004 and took these from pure testing to the selection of at least three new commercial hybrids from different breeding stations.

* Jamie has undertaken a vast array of high level, professional business training. This includes courses at the Cranfield School of Management and Loughborough School of Business. More recently, he has completed the well-renowned Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, which included residential placements at Said Business School at Oxford University.

* Jamie oversaw the growth in export revenue during his time as a Commercial Director in his previous role from less than 10% to 55% of overall turnover during tough economic times in the UK.

* Jamie is based in Spalding, UK. Outside work, Jamie very much enjoys cycling both on the road and mountain biking. His interests have taken him far afield in pursuit of this passion both as a participant, fundraiser and a spectator of the sport. Further, he partakes in other outdoor activities such as hiking and hill walking. He is a regular overseas traveller with favourite destinations so far being France, USA and Canada. The list of upcoming destinations is somewhat more exotic however. He is a keen reader, listener to music and an improving cook!



Iulia Negoita

With a well-rounded background in horticulture (including a MSc in Agricultural Consulting) and a passion for sustainable agriculture as well as new varieties, Iulia is responsible for the business's licensing activities and a range of other areas of IP Management.

The 5 things you need to know about Iulia are the following:

* Having lived in the UK previously and worked in the berry and ornamentals sectors as a key point of contact with breeders, growers and nurseries worldwide, Iulia has a passion for plants and an eye for spotting the best varieties, with exciting and unique characteristics. After spending 5 years in the UK, Iulia took a sabbatical year in her career, dedicated to travelling across Europe, the Middle East and Asia in which she discovered a range of different and interesting varieties.

* Iulia has a Bachelor’s Diploma in both Agricultural Engineering and Biology as well as a MSc in Agricultural Consulting at the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Bucharest and she takes great interest in sustainable agriculture and discovering new and exciting cultivars.

* She also has a United Kingdom Certificate in Agriculture and Horticulture (Distinction) and very much enjoys going to gardening and flower shows at RHS Garden Wisley or visiting Botanical Gardens every time she is travelling across the world.

* Iulia is looking forward to the new challenge ahead in joining the IP department of the company, which will not only fulfil her passion of finding new, improved plants and making contact with breeders from a whole range of territories, but will also help to create new opportunities in developing markets across the world for healthy products, benefiting people’s health globally.

* In her spare time, Iulia is an avid traveller, hiker and exercise junkie who makes smart investments in fine ice-cream, good coffee and doesn't understand the question "Beach or Mountains?" when you can have them both.

Claire Donkin

Claire has specialised in asparagus agronomy and research. She has a MPhil in Soil Science from the University of Aberdeen. Both soil management and sustainability remain strong passions. Alongside this, Claire is qualified in agronomy, food hygiene and auditing.


The 5 things you need to know about Claire are the following:

* Claire became a Western European Technical Manager for a multinational protected herb company at the age of 25. She was then made Technical Director of a speciality vegetable and stone fruit grower group at 30. Both companies have grown in technical complexity and customer delivery, directly serving several top tier British and European retailers.

* Claire has specialised in asparagus agronomy and research. She has delivered agronomic plans and development projects to businesses across the globe.

* Claire has a Master of Philosophy in Soil Science from the University of Aberdeen. Both soil management and sustainability remain strong passions. Alongside this, Claire is BASIS and FACTS qualified in Commercial Horticulture and an ongoing member of the professional register. She also has HACCP, Basic Food Hygiene, Food Law, Waitrose Farm Assessment version 3 and BRC Auditor qualifications.

* Claire has forged strong links with a network of international researchers and funders. She is highly successful in translating the best findings into practical guidance for growers and producers. She has been working with the scientific community for 15 years and has a strong record of commissioning industry focussed, commercially meaningful projects and implementing the results for grower benefit.

* Claire is based in Leominster, UK. Outside work, she is the mum of one proudly fresh produce consuming, energetic toddler. She has recently started cross country running and is looking forward to completing her first half marathon trail run in 2017. She also plays an active part in the family farm in Bedfordshire and is an enthusiastic reader, traveller and music fan.

Paul Ward

Paul has a degree in horticulture (Agronomy) from UCD. In addition, he holds a range of qualifications in agronomy, food hygiene and management.


The things you need to know about Paul are the following:

* Paul is highly motivated: no challenge is too great for him. He started life in ADAS and within two years was managing the whole technical, production and supply side of a leading UK co-operative in the 1990s.

* His experience is diverse. As an extension agronomist, he has worked worldwide in delivering sustainable, complete supply chain horticultural solutions for leading suppliers to the UK’s leading retailers.

* He is well regarded within the stone fruit industry across the globe.

* Qualifications gained include a certificate and degree in horticulture (Agronomy) UCD, BASIS and FACTS qualified, Basic Hygiene training (Level 2), HACCP training, Auditor training, including Field to Fork, Waitrose Risk Assessment training and senior management / director training by More People and Mdina.

* Key feature: All businesses Paul has worked at have grown rapidly and profitably by delivering highly innovative products to their customers. He was a key part in the rapid growth of Univeg UK from £17M to £265M in 16 years. He has established grower clubs worldwide, helped write many protocols now used in industry, been involved in ground breaking post-harvest solutions, played key roles in global crisis management issues, such as morpholine in fruit coatings, and glass in South African packaging and until recently, sat on the Pesticides and Food Chemicals group within the Fresh Produce Consortium.

* Paul lives in Lincolnshire with his wife and two daughters. He is passionate about education for his children. He is an active member of the Shepherd’s Food Ministry charity, helping Nigerian smallholders to store and market their produce. He loves motor biking and is a long distance single sculler with Lincoln Rowing Centre. Paul has travelled extensively and enjoys communicating with people in all walks of life. He also makes a brilliant stir fry!

Sadie Petchell

Sadie has been working within the Global Plant Genetics’ team since its first year of inception and is now integral to its operation. Her wide-ranging skills have been of particular benefit in customer and supplier interactions. She also coordinates a number of administration areas for the business.

The 5 things you need to know about Sadie are the following

  • Sadie gained a degree in the Hospitality and Tourism field and since then, decidd to branch out into office management. 
  • She has been working in office environments for the majority of her career for a range of organisations, including a multinational consumer goods business.
  • Sadie is an excellent communicator and uses these skills to ensure that the office functions at Global Plant Genetics function seamlessly. 
  • In addition to facilitating the company’s personal development programs, Sadie pursues these endeavours herself. Recent areas of specialist training have been in digital marketing with further programs to be carried out in financial accounting.
  • Outside of work, Sadie has two small and very active children. In her free-time, she enjoys spending time with the family on days out and encouraging her children’s development. In any limited additional spare time, Sadie is an excellent cook and likes to read. 

Paula Tomuta

With a Bachelor of Applied Science, focused on Geography and Cartography from UBB  University of Cluj Napoca, Paula has gained analytical and research skills that will not only help with her new role as a marketing specialist, but will also add value in her new field of expertise.


The 5 things you need to know about Paula are the following

  • Her experience is diverse:  Having worked in the berry and ornamentals sectors previously within a micropropagation facility, Paula is well acquainted with the vast majority of plants that the company deals with. She is also a successful protection adviser, translator and recently, she hopped onto a project that will fulfil her dream of travelling the whole world.
  • Having a diploma in Interior Design, Paula is equipped with the specific creative and technical skills needed in the role she just started within the marketing department of the company.
  • Paula is very much into personal development and her actions are driven everyday by her favourite quote: “Whatever your mind can conceive and believe you can achieve!” Napoleon Hill
  • Paula is based in Peterborough. Outside work, she enjoys taking dance classes and she has a strong passion for travelling. In the past 5 years, she has visited 22 countries across Europe, America, the Middle East and Asia.
  • Paula loves getting involved with charity work and supporting less fortunate people, that’s why a few years back she decided to skydive and raise money for a good cause and with the raised funds, she contributed to the refurbishment of a school in Bangladesh.

Nick Coumbe

Nick started his career in horticulture in 1991, and had a passion for plants from an early age. Although Nick has spent much of his time in plant production, he has also worked in retail (online and offline) marketing and has run his own business. He completed his horticultural studies at the University of Greenwich in 1999 and has continued to develop his skills throughout his career.

5 things you need to know about Nick are the following: 

* Nick has worked at a senior management level in several industry leading horticultural companies and has been a key player in delivering many high profile projects

* He is an excellent communicator and enjoys working in teams with stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to achieve common goals

* Nick qualified as a certified trainer and assessor in 2019 and has been helping to train the next generation of horticulturalists

* Nick lives in Adelaide with his family having moved to Australia from the U.K. in 2011.

* In his spare time Nick enjoys walking, swimming and travel. He plays guitar and recently started building his own instruments