Mars Names Maria Velissariou Chief Science Officer

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Mars Names Maria Velissariou Chief Science Officer

By Lisa Johnston - 09/10/2020
Dr. Maria Velissariou
Dr. Maria Velissariou

Dr. Maria Velissariou is joining Mars, Inc. as global corporate R&D VP and chief science officer.

Most recently chief science and technology officer at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Velissariou will replace David Crean, who is retiring in April 2021 after 34 years with Mars.  

She will be tasked with leading quality and food safety, scientific and regulatory affairs at the consumer goods company — named earlier this year as one of the best places to work — while delivering its R&D strategy in partnership with the rest of the business.

Velissariou is deeply steeped within the consumer goods industry, having served as VP for nutrition R&D at PepsiCo, and well as associate director of research development and quality, and associate director of procurement at Kraft Foods.

At IFT, Velissariou oversaw science, technology and policy strategies and advocated for the science of food. As part of her work, she partnered with stakeholders across industry, academia, government and non-profits to advance the food system.

Velissariou also currently serves on the board of directors of the Chicago Council for Science and Technology and is a member of the Women Business Collaborative leaders’ circle.

“On behalf of the Mars community, we’re excited to welcome Maria and look forward to her leadership in continuing to invest in our R&D and science agenda,” said Jean-Christophe Flatin, president of innovation, science, technology and Mars Edge. “Given her past experiences, Maria is well-positioned to ensure we continue to evaluate and apply external provocation, learn from and expand our specialized network of expert peers while attracting world-class talent.”

“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 Velissariou. “As such, I’m honored and excited to join Mars and its dynamic community of associates to build upon their momentum of positively disrupting the industry to stay relevant with consumers while ensuring the best-in-class quality and food safety practices.”

More Recent Leadership Moves

Nicolas Hieronimus has been elevated from deputy CEO to CEO of L’Oreal, succeeding the retiring Jean-Paul Agon on May 1, 2021, and ending an 18-month process.

Branch joined the company just seven months ago, and was praised in a company statement for his work in expanding strategic partnerships and identifying opportunities to broaden consumer reach at retail.

Brown will lead its global procurement strategy, overseeing its relationships with the supplier community to improve supplier diversity, as well as develop its connected and sustainable treating and snacking business.