Peter Kovacs was born in Budapest, Hungary. In 1960 he immigrated to the United States and moved to San Diego, California. In 1967, Kovacs joined the Kelco Company, a San Diego based specialty chemicals manufacturer and a Division of Merck & Co. Inc., as a laboratory chemist. After a series of domestic and international technical and business assignments, Kovacs was appointed President and CEO of the company in 1993.
Kovacs led the sale of Kelco to Monsanto in 1994. He was subsequently chosen to join the Monsanto Operating Council and to merge the Nutrasweet Company with Kelco, forming the $800 million food ingredient firm, which then became one of the largest industrial biotechnology companies, the Nutrasweet Kelco Company. He served as President and CEO until his retirement in 1997 after 30 years of service.
Kovacs graduated from San Diego State University in 1966 with a degree in chemistry. He also attended the Stanford University and ENSIAD (Fountainbleu, France) Executive Management Programs. He is currently serving on the Boards of Trustees of the Desert Research Institute and the San Diego Natural History Museum. Kovacs is a member of the American Chemical Society and the Institute of Food Technologists.
In 1997, Kovacs established an international business advisory practice, the Kovacs Advisory Group L.L.C., to provide consultancy in the following specific areas:
a.) Post merger organizational development,
b.) Development and implementation of global growth strategies,
c.) Acquisition and strategic partnership development,
d.) Transitioning from the start-up phase of new ventures to growth organizations,
e.) Innovation strategies for sustainable growth
Since the formation of the Kovacs Advisory Group, Kovacs has worked for clients in the US, Europe, Australia and Japan. Completed consulting assignments include:
- Advising on the sale of a private food ingredient distribution business in the Netherlands and a specialty food additive firm in France,
- Forming two new business ventures for the Gallo Winery,
- Advising on several transactions in the food and specialty ingredient industries,
- Served as advisory director on the Board of Directors of CP Kelco, Interim Co-CEO of CreAgri Inc. and member of the DSM Human Nutrition Scientific Advisory Committee, Senior Advisor to San Ei-Gen FFI of Japan, Clover Inc. of Australia and Solazyme of the USA.
Kovacs and his wife, Marilee, reside in Incline Village, Nevada.