Vice President Nutrition R&D (Global Grains, Dairy and Convergence Platforms)
Dr. Maria Velissariou is currently Vice President for PepsiCo Nutrition R&D with global responsibility for Grains, Dairy and Cohort Platforms. She leads global technologies that drive scale and growth in line with the Global Nutrition Group agenda. Her focus is the delivery of advantaged nutrition, superior product experiences and affordable solutions to consumers around the world seeking trusted and balanced options. She started her PepsiCo career in 2011 as VP R&D for Quaker, a Division of PepsiCo Foods, headquartered in Chicago. In that role, Maria was responsible for the Quaker Foods North America agenda delivering top and bottom line growth through product and packaging development, Quality, Food Safety, and Regulatory. She also led technology applications and product innovation feeding the Grains longer term pipeline at global scale.
Maria is a member of the PepsiCo STEM Executive Council and Chair for Million Women Mentors, an initiative of STEMconnector®, promoting STEM education and careers among girls and young women globally. Maria also sits on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Council for Science and Technology (C2ST).
Maria began her corporate career over 20 years ago with Dow Corning Europe as Process Upgrade & Manufacturing Engineer pioneering Statistical Process Control and Total Quality Management. She then moved to the Food Industry with (the then) Kraft Foods, first in Europe and subsequently in the United States. During her 16-year career with Kraft Foods, Maria held various Regional and Global R&D positions in several categories, such as Coffee, Refreshment Beverages and Cheese & Dairy. She also held corporate roles spanning Ingredient Research, Global Procurement leading Supplier Relationship Management, and building the Training Academies for Global R&D and Procurement.
Maria holds an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and a Master of Science and PhD in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Birmingham, England. During her PhD work, Maria held the position of Research Associate at the Center of Biochemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, England. Maria has several scientific publications and global patents.
Maria is a native of Greece and a naturalized USA citizen. She enjoys arts, reading, politics, power walking and traveling with her husband and two daughters.