Mars hires former IFT chief science and technology officer as new head of R&D

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Mars Inc.
Photo: Mars Inc.

Related tags: Mars, Ift

Mars Inc. has hired Dr. Maria Velissariou as its new vice president of global corporate research & development and chief science officer to lead the company's quality and food safety, scientific & regulatory affairs and R&D strategy.

Most recently, Dr. Velissariou served as the chief science and technology officer at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), where she oversaw science, technology, and policy strategies, advocated for the science of food, and partnered with stakeholders across industry, academia, government, and non-profits to advance the food system.

Prior to her role at IFT, Dr. Velissariou served in global corporate roles including VP nutrition R&D at PepsiCo, and various R&D positions at Kraft Foods in their coffee, refreshment beverages, cheese and dairy, and ingredient research segments.

"With global population growth and increase of supply chain complexities, I'm motivated by the legacy of resource, reach, and commitment of Mars to make a meaningful impact on the food industry," ​said Dr. Velissariou.

Dr. Velissariou will report into Jean-Christophe Flatin, president of innovation, science, technology at Mars Edge (a business within Mars founded in 2017 focused on health and wellness through targeted nutrition) and will partner with the existing Mars chief science officer and vice president of corporate R&D, David Crean, as he transitions to retirement in April 2021.

Crean, who has been with Mars for 34 years, is credited with developing novel analytical techniques, establishing global technology and research platforms, as well as developing many product and business innovations.

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