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2016 Monsanto International Business Conference Focuses on Global Growth

The annual Monsanto International Business Conference aims to bring prominent business leaders from across the country together to share ideas, grow regional opportunities and network with the local business community. Proceeds from the conference benefit a scholarship fund for future international business students in the Chaifetz School.

Morning speakers

Morning speakers, from left: ​​John Gialouris, Tom Gebhardt, Masuo Yoshimatsu, Hadi Alhorr​, Ph.D., Adam Decaire,  and Steve Johnson. ​Not pictured: ​Yasushi Takahashi. Photo by Steve Dolan

A networking breakfast, with exhibitor tables from global organizations and companies, officially opened the 2016 Monsanto International Business Conference held Thursday, Dec. 1, and organized by the Boeing Institute of International Business in the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business. 

Approximately 300 guests gathered in the Wool Ballroom in Busch Student Center for the morning program that began with opening remarks by Hadi Alhorr, Ph.D., director of the Boeing Institute of International Business and chair of the international business department. University President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., gave a welcome to the speakers and guests, congratulating the Boeing Institute on its professional as well as academic achievements.

“As many of you know, our international business programs are ranked highly by the U.S. News and World Report with our undergraduate programs ranked no. 11 and the graduate programs no. 12,” Pestello said. “Today’s conference is a testament of our commitment to engage the St. Louis communities in a dialogue that is relevant and can enrich the quality of the business environment in the Midwest region.”

The morning program consisted of four speakers:

  • Yasushi Takahashi, president and CEO of Mitsui Co. USA – “Rediscovery of America”
  • Tom Gebhardt, president of Panasonic Automotive Systems America and executive officer for Panasonic Corporation – “Leveraging Transformation and Partnership to Grow in North America”
  • Masuo Yoshimatsu, president and CEO of NIDEC Americas Holding – “Vision 2020 - The Global Growth Strategy of NIDEC Corporation”
  • Adam Decaire, managing director of Southwest Airlines – “New Horizons; How Southwest Airlines Develops New International Service Strategies”

Steve Johnson, president of Missouri Partnership, served as the chair of the morning program, with John Gialouris, COO at Hussmann, as the moderator. Both are members of the advisory board of the Boeing Institute of International Business. The session concluded with the drawing of four guest names who each received a Southwest Airlines round-trip ticket as an attendance prize.  These tickets were provided by Southwest Airlines, an event sponsor.

Lunch speakers

Lunch speakers, from left: Hadi Alhorr, Ph.D., Mark Higgins, Ph.D., Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D., Giora Israel and Joe Reagan. Photo by Steve Dolan

Guests then moved into the luncheon session, which included a talk on “The Golden Age of Cruising; How Carnival Corporation is Developing New Global Markets and Destinations.” The presentation was given by Giora Israel, senior vice president of Global Port and Destination Development at Carnival Corporation, with an audio message from Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation. Israel was introduced by Joe Reagan, president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber. Mark Higgins, Ph.D., dean of the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business, served as the master of ceremonies.

University Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D., gave a University welcome, and Alhorr offered the annual Report From The Director. In his comments, he noted the success of the 2016 Monsanto International Business Conference, with compelling topics presented by high-ranking speakers, more than 300 reservations, and net proceeds exceeding $65,000.

“The speakers have been outstanding, as has the sharing of ideas and networking,” Alhorr said. “The knowledge created today will help all of us as we grow global business opportunities in the region. But scholarships are another reward cultivated through this conference, funded through the net proceeds of this event. Thanks to your participation, today’s function will generate opportunities for students studying international business well into the future.”

The event sponsors are Monsanto, naming sponsor; Emerson, platinum sponsor; ambassador sponsors Boeing, Bunzl, Novus, Southwest, and the World Trade Center St. Louis; consul general sponsors Edward Jones, Ernst & Young, Hussmann, Maritz, NIDEC, and RGA; and consul sponsors Arvegenix, Commerce Bank, Enterprise Holdings, Missouri Partnership, Regions Bank, RubinBrown, Solae and Watlow. 

The conference is also supported by a number of global partners:  St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, St. Louis Regional Chamber, Missouri International Trade & Investment Office, The Missouri Partnership, U.S. Department of Commerce, World Trade Center St. Louis, World Affairs Council, International Institute of St. Louis, St. Louis Mosaic Project, Transportation Club of St. Louis, and the Japan-America Society St. Louis.

For more information about the Boeing Institute of International Business and future events or current academic programs, call 314-977-3898, email or visit