Richard Flavell is a plant geneticist who has focused much attention on traits important in crop plants. In the last 5 years he has served as Chief Scientist in two companies in the USA. The first, Indigo, Cambridge, Mass. is an agricultural microbiome company. The second, Inari, is an agricultural plant genetics company. He is currently a consultant for companies and public sector organizations committed to plant improvement, including the International Wheat Yield Partnership. After his undergraduate degree in microbiology, his PhD in the John Innes Institute and the University of East Anglia he spent two years of postdoctoral research in Stanford University, California. He then joined the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge UK where he built up a large Department of Plant Molecular Genetics between 1969 and 1987. He was then appointed as Director of the John Innes Centre (JIC), Norwich and to a chair at the University of East Anglia and oversaw a large expansion of JIC’s activities and impact. In 1998 he became the Chief Scientific Officer of Ceres, a young plant genomics company in California. This became a public company and was recently bought by a multinational agricultural company. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and a Commander of the British Empire for services to science.