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Dr. Maria Velissariou

Maria joined Mars, Incorporated as Global Corporate R&D Vice President and Chief Science Officer in September 2020. She is responsible for the enterprise-wide approach to Quality, Food Safety and Scientific Regulatory Affairs, and delivery of Mars’ R&D strategy in partnership with the business segments. Most recently Maria was 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 multiple stakeholders to advance the food system globally. Before IFT, Maria served as Vice President for Nutrition R&D at PepsiCo with responsibility for global grains, dairy and cohort platforms following a position as Vice President R&D for Quaker Foods North America. Prior to PepsiCo, Maria was with Kraft Foods in the UK and U.S. holding various R&D positions and in Procurement. Maria began her corporate career with Dow Corning Europe as Process Upgrade & Manufacturing Engineer. Maria is a long-time advocate for STEM and enhancing diversity in business. She has presented in various conferences around the world and has been quoted in several media such as the WSJ, Axios, and Food Manufacturing. Maria earned a Ph.D. and Master in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Birmingham (UK), and a B.Eng. in Chemical Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece).