John Deere has just announced the appointment of digital farming specialist Deanna Kovar to head its presence in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

The company has such a well established name as a supplier of machinery that to point out that it now considers itself a technology company first and foremost, is akin to heresy in the eyes of many.

Technology transfer

Yet that is just how it now describes itself, even though it might be argued that the original John Deere was adapting sawmill technology to farming back in 1837, just as the present company is bringing digitisation from industry to agriculture today.

This latest bout of transformation has just been given a boost with the appointment of Deanna M. Kovar as the future president of its Agricultural Machinery business from November 1, 2023.

Kovar will oversee and the EMEA region, and will hold the presidency for the Agricultural Equipment and turf business,

All straightforward enough, but what is of interest to those watching the progress of the company is that she previously headed the Precision Agriculture business unit.

Farm upbringing for Kovar

According to the company, the 45-year-old has been instrumental in John Deere’s strategy shift from a pure equipment supplier to a technology company in recent years.

Kovar has been at the forefront of John Deere’s efforts in digitising agriculture. In her previous position she was responsible for the area of Precision Agriculture and has also been instrumental in the company’s transformation into what is described as a smart industrial company, both in the agricultural and construction sides of the corporation.

She grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, US and has been with John Deere since 2000. During her career, she has held various leadership positions and worked closely with the four John Deere regions.

Mark von Pentz Kovar John Deere
Mark von Pentz will be leaving his position and moving on as advisor to the CEO at the end of his tenure in the new fiscal year

Key roles have included sales, marketing, customer service and product development. In recent years she has worked closely with Markwart von Pentz the retiring head.

As head of Europe, she will relocate from Moline, Illinois, to the Mannheim region in Germany with her family.

She will be taking the place of Mark von Pentz, a long serving executive of John Deere who is credited with setting in motion the company’s realignment towards the digitisation of