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Benson Hill Adds Food and Finance Veterans to Leadership Team During Period of Accelerating Growth

David Lee, former COO/CFO of Impossible Foods, to Join Board of Directors 

Names DeAnn Brunts as a member of the Board of Directors and Chief Financial Officer 

ST. LOUIS, MO – January 28, 2021 – Benson Hill, a food tech company unlocking nature’s genetic diversity with its cutting-edge food innovation engine, today announced two new appointments to the company’s leadership team and Board of Directors. 

David Lee, who has served in leadership positions at Impossible Foods, AppHarvest, Zynga, Del Monte Foods and Best Buy, has joined the Benson Hill Board as an independent director and will chair the audit and risk committee. In addition, Benson Hill announced the appointment of veteran finance executive DeAnn Brunts as a member of the company’s Board and Chief Financial Officer. Brunts will report to Benson Hill Chief Executive Officer Matt Crisp and serve on the company’s Executive Leadership Team.

“David has a strong reputation for driving growth at mission-driven companies using innovation to deliver transformational change and the experience and product attributes consumers want,” said Crisp. “His leadership and acumen helped to develop the market conditions that support the sustained global demand for plant-based protein that we see today. David will bring a valuable perspective and ensure we are well-positioned to provide improvements in health, taste, sustainability and affordability that will drive continued scale and differentiation across multiple plant-based protein markets.”

“The plant-based protein segment continues to mature and evolve at a rapid pace. I believe premium ingredients provide one of the biggest opportunities for value creation and long-term growth in this space,” said Lee. “Benson Hill’s technology-enabled innovation engine allows the company to unlock efficiencies and create new value for customers at an impressive pace. I am committed to supporting the company’s continued growth and leadership in the plant-based segment and, looking ahead, in other food and agriculture market segments that are ripe for similar development.” 

With over 25 years of experience across retail and consumer industries, Lee offers a successful track record of leading business transformations and enhancing organizational effectiveness. Most recently, he joined leading AgTech company, AppHarvest, as President and member of the Board. Previously, Lee served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Impossible Foods. He received his MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA from Harvard College. 

Brunts, a seasoned expert in risk management and governance, brings to Benson Hill several decades of experience in financial, operational and executive leadership roles in both public and private companies. Prior to joining Benson Hill, she served in numerous Chief Financial Officer and Business Unit Leader roles in the retail, food, consumer goods, manufacturing, distribution and service industries. She was also a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), where she led various initiatives related to IPOs and M&A. She currently serves on the Board of publicly-traded B&G Foods. DeAnn earned an MBA in Finance and Operations Management from The Wharton School and a BSBA in Accounting from the University of Missouri in St. Louis. 

“DeAnn brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from her diverse leadership background, and we are so pleased to welcome her to our team,” said Crisp. “DeAnn’s industry perspective, passion to advance the food system and zeal for rapid growth strategies are a fine complement to our existing Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors. Her business acumen combined with decades of finance, risk management and governance leadership will also be a great asset for Benson Hill as we continue to expand and serve a wider set of diverse stakeholders and customers.”

“I am excited to join Benson Hill’s Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors,” said Brunts. “The contribution Benson Hill will make isn’t just attractive to the marketplace – it is essential, and I look forward to helping ensure the company maintains a rapid but steady course.” 

The appointments of David Lee and DeAnn Brunts come at an opportune time as Benson Hill continues to build out the supply chain for its novel high-protein, high-oleic, low anti-nutrient soybeans to meet the growing demand for plant-based foods and high-protein animal feed. The food tech company plans to fully commercialize a line of Ultra-High Protein soybean varieties this year. 

About Benson Hill
Benson Hill moves food forward with Cloud Biology® and the CropOS™ platform, a leading food innovation engine that combines data science and machine learning with biology and genetics. Benson Hill empowers innovators to unlock nature’s genetic diversity from plant to plate, with the purpose of creating healthier, great-tasting food and ingredient options that are both widely accessible and sustainable. More information can be found at bensonhill.com or on Twitter at @bensonhillinc.

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Media Contact: 
Benson Hill | Melanie Bernds | [email protected]

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