Curt BladesAEM announced it has named Curt Blades as its senior vice president, Ag services.

Blades replaces Charlie O’Brien, who announced his retirement from AEM earlier this year. The former group business development director for Meredith Corporation, Blades will be responsible for the strategic direction of agriculture programs and services for AEM membership, and he will serve as the primary liaison with ag-specific industry organizations, customer groups and government agencies, both in North America and worldwide.

“We are very pleased to welcome Curt to the AEM team and look forward to the expertise and enthusiasm he brings,” said AEM President Dennis Slater. “He has a strong agricultural and management background, and while we had some big shoes to fill with Charlie’s departure, we are confident that Curt will help us achieve continued success.”

In addition to serving in his role as group business development director for Meredith, Blades was a member of the strategic leadership team for Meredith Agrimedia business unit. He has extensive experience in management, marketing, sales and research.

Blades joined Meredith in 2002, after having served in previous positions that include management roles at MachineryLink and Farmland Industries. 

He has been active in the National Agri-Marketing Association, Agribusiness Education Foundation and Agriculture Council of America

Blades earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree in agribusiness from Kansas State. He grew up on a 5,000-acre farm in northeast Missouri, and was involved in both 4H and FFA.  

O'BrienCharlie O’Brien Retires

Charlie O’Brien announced in April his intention to retire from AEM to take care of family and a family business.

“We want to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Charlie for his decade of service and unselfish willingness to work during a transition period to help provide uninterrupted service to the membership,” said Slater.

O’Brien joined AEM in 2007, after having held positions of increasing responsibility with John Deere Credit.

“Charlie has been an invaluable member of the AEM senior leadership team and highly respected throughout the industry, and we are grateful for his knowledge and guidance,” said Slater. “He played a critical strategic role for AEM, and his dedication is evident in the growth of our Ag sector programs and services during his tenure.”

AEM notes that the nationwide search for its senior vice president position was conducted through Kincannon & Reed, a leading global executive search firm focused on the food, agribusiness and biosciences sectors.