Flat Earth provides professional risk management based on years of experience at leading brand food companies such as Mars, Inc., Kraft Foods, and McCormick & Company.


Flat Earth was created to enable visionary organizations to navigate the complexities of commodity and raw material risk management, which exists in many different forms across many different businesses. There is no single solution that is applicable across different commodities, different companies, and in fact there can be multiple solutions for the same commodity within the same company. Therein lays both the challenges and opportunities of managing risk.

  • Can you effectively turn data into information and strategies?
  • Are your commodity strategies more pro-active or re-active?
  • Do you manage the market or your margins?
  • Do emotions affect your strategies?
  • Do you have a robust decision making process?
  • Has your “toolkit” evolved?
  • Do you have the right supply partners?
  • Do you consistently maintain discipline?
  • Is your risk management aligned with business strategies and results?
  • Does your current process facilitate reporting and accountability?

Conceptually, the answers to the above and the foundation of the Strategic Risk Management program are encompassed in the following:
Flat Earth Risk Management builds upon these time tested fundamentals and blends them with each clients unique challenges to devise and deliver a structured and disciplined risk management process that among other benefits, aligns hedging strategies with business risks.

Why Strategic Risk Management?

Today’s commodity and raw material markets, with their unprecedented high prices and volatility, offer a compelling rationale for strategic risk management. Price moves that used to take years now occur in weeks. The global interconnectivity of business and agriculture brings ever greater unknowns into future price discovery. How well companies adapt to these changes is crucial to their long-term competitiveness and growth.

However, the simple truth is that regardless of the level of prices and volatility, leading companies have a structured and disciplined process in place to effectively manage their risk and operating margins across the entire spectrum of market behaviors, and are prepared for any and all eventualities. The goal of strategic risk management is to align market strategies with business strategies. By acting on business centric and repeatable decisions, operating margins are managed strategically and the focus can be on business growth.

That is not the same as foolishly professing to get the markets always right, and it is critical to know why you get the markets right. However, the most important distinction is to know that when you get markets wrong, you were wrong for the right reasons. As unconventional as this statement sounds, it forms the foundation for risk management philosophy, principles and application. And that is where Flat Earth Risk Management specializes, in taking customers “Beyond Conventional Wisdom”.

The challenges of successful risk management are daunting. It requires a sound foundation, a structured but flexible framework, and disciplined execution. And that is just the process part. In addition, one needs to take the myriad of often times disparate or conflicting data…..from weather, crop forecasts, price movements and forecasts….and turn that into information which then leads to business strategies. Many companies contract for the “data” part…weather and commodity expertise…as that does not exist internally. Yet what is most crucial is the successful application of these and other inputs into the decisions that will help your business grow. That is the essence of strategic risk management. Because all too often, “good weather” becomes a default strategy.

Based on all the above, the more appropriate question is “Why not Strategic Risk Management?”

John blends a myriad of unique professional experiences together to provide a perspective on the global commodity markets that is beyond conventional wisdom.

John’s Bio

Beginning with his formal education as a meteorologist, he first worked for the Mars Corporation in their Commodity Developments Services function, researching, developing and implementing state of the art medium range climate forecasts to complement short term weather forecasts, yield modeling and price forecasting in support of dynamic risk management strategies. John further honed these skills and developed his passion for the markets while establishing a North American center for grains/oilseeds hedging for Mars.

Continuing his journey, John furthered his pursuit of the philosophy, principles and application of end-user risk management doctrine at Kraft Foods corporate headquarters in the Commodity Risk Management group. There he managed extensive portfolios in both grains and softs, and collaboratively worked on refining and defining the process by which risk was managed as well as co-authored the corporate hedging policy. John then accepted the challenge of translating these risk management practices from exchange traded liquid markets to illiquid physical markets, as he took a job as Director of Spice Procurement for McCormick.

In this capacity, John travelled extensively around the world, enhancing his knowledge of global agricultural and business practices and challenges. He implemented this risk management discipline in spices, resulting in the successful strategic execution of physical long positions. John advanced into the role of Senior Procurement Director and delivered strong results leading the global raw material category and was Executive Director of the Supplier Diversity program. John was the principal for managing McCormick’s global risk management program, both internally as well as externally to strategic customers, creating several successful external risk management programs in the process.

John currently is President of Flat Earth Risk Management, LLC, whereby he leverages his global experiences in meteorology, agriculture, supply chains, corporate cultures and numerous markets to provide custom tailored commodity and risk management solutions to customers to strategically manage operating margins during these volatile commodity times.

Risk Management Services

Flat Earth has a spectrum of services available to assist clients in their journey towards strategic risk management excellence. These services are applicable across both exchange traded and physical commodities and raw materials, and to existing or future challenges in the supply chain.
Principles, Philosophy, Methodology, Alignment, Discipline, Structure Objectives, Endorsement, Assess/Review/Refine
Structures, Toolbox, Matrices, Strategy Filter, Discipline, Reporting/Measurement, Strategy Development
Discipline, Strategy Execution, Recommendations, Market Updates, Results
Flat Earth offers all or subsets of the above services, either through continuing consulting arrangement or through specific project based contracts. The vision is assist clients in creating and maintaining a commodity risk management process that delivers stability to operating margins, aligns hedging strategies with business risks, and provides a senior management endorsed strategic structure. When done correctly, strategic risk management in and of itself does not have right or wrong answers, it solves business problems.

If you are interested in finding out more about how Flat Earth Risk Management can help you successfully manage today’s and tomorrow’s turbulent markets…for both your internal and external clients…please use the contact information below.