With seven nationalities and eleven languages between them, the ISF Secretariat is a truly international team with a global outlook.

Based in Nyon, Switzerland and led by the Secretary General, the ISF Secretariat consists of a technical team responsible for the areas of  ‘Our Work’, and specialist personnel who manage ISF’s communications, events, accounts and administration.

Michael Keller

Michael Keller

Secretary General

Michael Keller is Secretary General of the International Seed Federation (June 2014 to present), focusing on the vision of a world where quality seed is accessible to all farmers to support sustainable agriculture and food security. In line with ISF’s mission, Michael is engaged in creating through collaboration an enabling environment for the private seed sector. Through long-standing involvement at national and international levels, he has an extensive knowledge and understanding of cooperation within the private sector and with non-governmental and civil society organizations. His field of expertise spans a wide range of topics including seed, agriculture, food security, Sustainable Development Goals, law, policy and advocacy. Prior to joining ISF, Michael worked in the French Senate as a Parliamentary Advisor, as Head of European and International Affairs of the Mayor’s Association of France and in different positions at DuPont de Nemours and Pioneer Seed. Michael studied law in Germany (Law State examination) and holds a post-graduate in law from the Paris-Sorbonne University. He spent time in Switzerland, Tunisia and France for trainings in international law and political science.

Marie tahmazian

Finance & Member Engagement Manager

Marie Tahmazian earned her degree in Chemistry specialized in formulation from the French Science University of Montpellier. After spending a gap year in UK, she had the opportunity to work for Syngenta Jealott’s Hill International Research Centre in the UK as a formulation chemist in crop protection. After taking a break from her professional life to raise her two kids while moving to different countries, Marie transitioned back into the workplace and pursued an Accountancy degree in Switzerland. She spent some years in an accounting firm in France before finally joining ISF in December 2013 as an accountant, where her role gradually grew to include engagement with members like national seed associations and seed companies.

Szabolcs Ruthner

Regulatory Affairs Manager

Rose Souza Richards

Seed Health Manager

Hélène Khan Niazi

International Agricultural Manager

FRANCINE SAYOC

Communications Manager

Bénédicte Lebas

Technical Lead - Regulated Pest List Initiative (RPLI)

Camille Beronie

Events Coordinator

Airah Cadiogan

Digital Media Associate

Michael Keller 

Secretary General, ISF  

 

 

Michael Keller is Secretary General of the International Seed Federation (June 2014 to present), focusing on the vision of a world where quality seed is accessible to all farmers to support sustainable agriculture and food security. In line with ISF’s mission, Michael is engaged in creating through collaboration an enabling environment for the private seed sector. 

 

Through long-standing involvement at national and international levels, he has an extensive knowledge and understanding of cooperation within the private sector and with non-governmental and civil society organizations 

 

His field of expertise spans a wide range of topics including seed, agriculture, food security, Sustainable Development Goals, law, policy and advocacy.   

 

Prior to joining ISF, Michael worked in the French Senate as a Parliamentary Advisor, as Head of European and International Affairs of the Mayor’s Association of France and in different positions at DuPont de Nemours and Pioneer Seed.   

 

Michael studied law in Germany (Law State examination) and holds a post-graduate in law from the Paris-Sorbonne University. He spent time in Switzerland, Tunisia and France for trainings in international law and political science. 

Marie Tahmazian 

Finance and Member Engagement Manager, ISF  

 

 

Marie Tahmazian earned her degree in Chemistry specialized in formulation from the French Science University of Montpellier. After spending a gap year in UK, she had the opportunity to work for Syngenta Jealott’s Hill International Research Centre in the UK as a formulation chemist in crop protection. 

 

After taking a break from her professional life to raise her two kids while moving to different countries, Marie transitioned back into the workplace and pursued an Accountancy degree in Switzerland. 

 

She spent some years in an accounting firm in France before finally joining ISF in December 2013 as an accountant, where her role gradually grew to include engagement with members like national seed associations and seed companies. 

Szabolcs Ruthner 

Regulatory Affairs Manager, ISF  

 

Szabolcs Ruthner joined ISF in 2015 as Regulatory Affairs Manager where he keeps an eye on international policy developments related to plant breeding innovationvarietal certification, and access to new plant varieties, with the aim of achieving consistent, science- and risk-based regulations across different countries. 

 

Prior to joining ISF, he worked for the Hungarian Seed Association (HSA) as professional assistant in 2004, and in 2006 he was appointed to the position of Secretary General. 

 

Szabolcs is a Hungarian national. He graduated from Corvinus University in Budapest where he completed a Ph.D. degree in molecular plant breeding.

Rose Souza Richards 

Seed Health Manager, ISF  

 

 

Rose Souza Richards joined ISF in March 2020 as the Seed Health Manager. Rose is the key point person for the international seed industry with the International Plant Protection Convention, and responsible for the coordination of an industry-wide response to WTO notifications on proposed changes to national phytosanitary regulations. 

 

She also manages, develops, and promotes existing ISF activities such as the Systems Approach, the Regulated Pest List Initiative, and the International Seed Health Initiative. 

 

Rose has spent the last five and a half years working at the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in New Zealand. Rose has a BSc in Agronomic Engineering from the State University of Bahia, Brazil, an MSc in Plant Pathology from the Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil, a second MSc in Plant Diversity from the University of Reading, UK and a PhD in Plant Molecular Virology from the University of Nottingham, UK. 

Hélène Khan Niazi 

International Agricultural Manager, ISF  

 

 

Hélène Khan Niazi joined ISF in 2016 as International Agricultural Managerresponsible for intellectual property policies and regulations around the access and benefit sharing of genetic resources.  

 

She studied agricultural law in Paris, La Sorbonne, and worked as a lawyer at the French Seed Union for three years. 

Francine Sayoc 

Communications Manager, ISF  

 

Francine Sayoc joined ISF in April 2019bringing more than 15 years of communications experience in both public and private sectors. 

 

Her role at ISF is to support the organization’s key strategic objectives and to help the seed sector tell its story to the most relevant stakeholders which include policymakers, partners in the agricultural value chain, as well as its own members composed of national seed associations and seed companies. 

 

Previously, Francine was Group Communications Manager of East-West Seed, a vegetable seed company based in Asia. Prior to that, she served as Media and Communications Director for a member of the Philippine Senate. Francine has a background in Journalism, and a Master’s degree in International Studies obtained through a merit scholarship from the government of Spain. 

Bénédicte Lebas 

Technical Lead for the Regulated Pest List Initiative, ISF  

 

Bénédicte Lebas joined ISF in January 2021 as the Technical Lead for the Regulated pest list initiative.  

 

Bénédicte has more than 15 years’ experience in plant virology diagnostics at the Plant Health and Environment Laboratory of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), New Zealand. For two years, she was a Senior Adviser in the MPI Plant Import team looking after the Import health standard for nursery stock and conducting audits of offshore facilities. 

 

Prior to joining ISF, she worked three years at the University of Liège, Belgium on the European project, VALITEST, developing guidelines for the use of high-throughput sequencing as a diagnostic test and guidelines for improved statistical analysis of data generated through validation studies. She has a PhD in plant virology from the University of Greenwich, UK. 

Camille Beronie 

Events Coordinator, ISF  

 

Camille Beronie joined ISF in November 2019 as Events Coordinator, after having worked as an intern in the ISF events team from 2016-2017 and supporting the organization of the World Seed Congress in Budapest. 

 

She finished her Gymnase in Economics at Marcelin, Morges and spent six months in England to study English. In 2019, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management from Ecole Supérieure de Tourisme in Lausanne. 

 

Camille was born in Switzerland to French parents. 

Airah Cadiogan 

Digital Media Associate, ISF  

 

Airah Cadiogan joined the International Seed Federation (ISF) as the Digital Media Associate in January 2020. In this role, she supports ISF’s communications by managing ISF’s online communities and platforms, including the website and Channel World Seed. 

 

Over the last 10 years, she has worked as a communications professional specializing in public and digital engagement for international organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Oxfam, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines, Mexico and globally. 

 

Airah has a background in Communication Research and Development Studies. Currently based in Switzerland, she also works as a communications consultant to complement her work with ISF.