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Chicoine Leaving SDSU Presidency, Staying on Monsanto Board of Directors

Dr. David Chicoine is taking a big pay cut as he steps down from the presidency of South Dakota State University. Right now he’s making $365,204 as top Jackrabbit. When he returns from his fall 2016 sabbatical to profess economics, he’ll pull down maybe $100,000.

So how will he keep two houses, one outside Brookings, the other in Chicago? Enter Monsanto. According to the annual shareholder’s meeting notice released last Thursday, Chicoine hopes to keep his seat on the Monsanto board of directors, a position he has held since 2009. For his service on Monsanto’s board in Fiscal Year 2015, Chicoine received $122,500 in cash, $122,473 in deferred stock, and $5,000 under the company’s charitable giving match program for a total of $249,973.

All that compensation came even as Monsanto had a financially crappy year:

from Monsanto annual report, 2015.12.10, p. 2
from Monsanto annual report, 2015.12.10, p. 2

Net sales down 5%, earnings before interest and taxes down 11%, diluted earnings per share down 8%—I wouldn’t mind getting paid $250K while overseeing lackluster financial performance. I suspect it would be easier than teaching economics.


  1. Rorschach 2015-12-16 10:18

    If “financially crappy year” means net income of only $2.3 billion that doesn’t seem too bad to me. Looks like Monsanto can afford to pay board members $250,000/year. It’s a good gig if you can get it. Who wouldn’t take a part-time job like that if it were offered?

  2. Don Coyote 2015-12-16 10:59

    Although not one for the record books, still not a bad year considering plunging corn prices in the ag sector.

  3. Paul Seamans 2015-12-16 11:08

    I don’t have so much a problem with Chicoine pulling down $250K from Monsanto when he is an economics professor however I do have a problem when he is doing that as the university president.

    Researchers at SDSU were about ten years behind farmers in noticing that weeds were developing resistance to Roundup. Well, maybe they noticed it but were afraid to publish anything on it. A payment of $250K to Chicoine is a small price to pay to silence their critics.

  4. The King 2015-12-16 13:45

    I would bet a can of Roundup that Chicoine doesn’t remain on the Monsanto board, as his usefulness to Monsanto will have run its course once he is no longer President of SDSU. Chicoine’s extra salary draw is just another data point demonstrating that South Dakotans are far too comfortable with public officials having obvious conflicts of interest. Maybe Chi(coin)e should be renamed Chi-dollar (make that high, conflict of interest dollar)?

  5. Rorschach 2015-12-16 13:48

    I don’t expect Chicoine to remain on the Monsanto board either. I do expect the next SDSU President to approach Monsanto hat in hand offering to take the job, but the line for the position is surely a long one.

  6. Roger Elgersma 2015-12-16 14:26

    I do not know if he did a good job or bad at SDSU. That would be my main concern. The fact that large companies get biased University research has been a problem for a while. I did see a research project displayed in the hallway of the Ag Engineering building at SDSU almost twenty years ago that showed that ag chemicals do not go more than twenty feet down in the soil and not into the aquafer, (which is nonsense) but when I showed a passing professor the variable they forgot, that research came down real soon. Good professors do appreciate good sound research. Those who dilute the quality of research for the money do eventually lose the prestige amount their peers.

  7. 96Tears 2015-12-16 14:35

    There must be a back story somewhere on this. Did Daugaard put his foot down on the big fat conflict of interest after taking it in the shorts for the Rounds era EB-5 and GEAR UP scandals? If so, good for Dennis! It’s about time he acted like a governor instead acting like a sad little
    wimp holding a flaming bag of dung from Mike Rounds in his lap.

    I agree with Rorschach that Monsanto will ditch Chicoine at its first opportunity. There is no longer any benefit to either Monsanto or to SDSU to have a lowly econ prof on the Monsanto board of directors. This really exposes that Chicoine’s interest was all about the money he could stuff into his pockets, never for what was good for SDSU.

    Not everybody can collect their gold watch and pension long before they retire … except maybe Tad Perry.

  8. Lanny V Stricherz 2015-12-16 19:34

    96, did you dream that during your after lunch nap? DD doesn’t smell fraud until the cops are at the door, or the crap hits the fan whichever comes first. And even then he is slow to act.

  9. 96Tears 2015-12-16 23:48

    Thank you Lanny! The nap is over.

    I don’t think DD’s first response as governor is to do the right thing, but I’d like to think that the bumpy road of recent years would cause him to recognize that his lasting place in history could easily be as Mike Rounds’ chosen chump, unless he finds a way to change course.

    This is the time for DD to shape his own legacy. Does he want to have the legacy as a crook and a chump? Or does he want to be known as the leader who exposed the corruption in the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt?

    Imagine you’re DD, Lanny. Every day you open the paper and there’s another article about corruption in the State Capitol. The blood of seven people is involved. You know that all of that blood is the result of deep-seeded corruption in Mike Rounds’ administration. But all of it got exposed on DD’s watch, and you know where the buck stops.

    Do you wonder if DD believes that blood may be on his hands, or Mike Rounds’, or, to be fair, both? Or maybe DD just compartmentalizes all of this? Has DD become a sociopath? Or maybe it took all of this stench for DD to get back in touch with that conscience he had before he became a big shot?

    DD’s legacy is hung up in a choice between doing the right thing or paying a lasting price to be branded as the dumbest, most corrupt governor in state history. The same choice is in front of Marty Jackley, although it’s easier to demonstrate that Jackley has chosen to be a corrupt concubine for the Protected Class.

    Dennis, there is still a little time for you to expose Rounds as the racketeer boss he was during his tenure as governor. The window is quickly closing. I know the temptation is believing you can continue stonewalling the truth, but the truth will catch up with you and condemn you. I’m an optimist. If you can find a trace of integrity in your soul, I believe you have the strength to do the right thing, the honest thing. Use your strength and your righteousness. Expose Mike Rounds and the corrupt machine in Pierre. Name names. Eliminate the cockroaches. Most importantly, give the public some proof your give a sh*t.

  10. Lanny V Stricherz 2015-12-17 00:36

    You are much kinder than am I, 96. I have posted this on these blogs at least a couple of times and probably more. DD started his career in Pierre as a legislator and ignoring the Federal law, ICWA, Indian Child Welfare Act of 1976. He used his position to siphon money to his then full time employer THe Children’s Home Society of South Dakota by placing Indian children in white foster homes. It helped to get his then employer out of financial problems and into the black.

    I am pretty sure that is how MMR recognized him as a guy that he could depend on to do his corrupt bidding as Lt Governor.

    But his coup de grace was when he was running for governor and indicating that he believed in funding education, but in his budget speech after that first election to the big chair, he asked the legislature to cut teacher pay by 10%. Then at the end of that first year rather than put the money back in, he has left education in that sorry state for the succeeding 5 years.

    The ironic part of that is, the voters of SD couldn’t have cared less. They reelected him with 71.5% of the vote, the highest winning percentage for governor in state history.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-17 06:25

    To what extent is Chicoine’s continued service on the board a decision of the shareholders and to what extent a decision of the Monsanto higher-ups?

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-17 06:32

    96, I’m not convinced there has to be a backstory. Chicoine is 68. He’s done the job for nine years. His predecessor, Peggy Gordon Elliott Miller, stepped down when she was 70, after doing the job for eight years. His departure does not seem hasty or premature.

  13. mike from iowa 2015-12-17 07:41

    For the record-HRC loves GMO crops and so,apparently,do all the wingnut candidates.

  14. mike from iowa 2015-12-17 07:44

    ST. LOUIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) today announced that at its annual meeting, shareowners elected nine members of its board of directors to new one-year terms, with all director nominees receiving a vote of more than 96 percent of votes cast. Elected members include: Gregory H. Boyce, Janice L. Fields, Hugh Grant, Laura K. Ipsen, Marcos M. Lutz, C. Steven McMillan, William U. Parfet, George H. Poste, Ph.D., D.V.M. and Robert J. Stevens. The remaining four directors, David L. Chicoine, Arthur H. Harper, Gwendolyn S. King and Jon R. Moeller will continue to serve for terms ending at the next annual meeting of shareowners in 2016, when the company will hold annual director elections. In addition, the advisory vote on executive compensation was approved by more than 97 percent of votes cast.

  15. Lanny V Stricherz 2015-12-17 07:45

    Let them all love them, I don’t care. Just require labeling of GMO foodstuffs, so I don’t have to eat them. I already boycot most of the major food suppliers who contributed to the defeat of GMO labeling.

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