Firmenich appoints Professor Geneviève Berger as Chief Research Officer, effective July 1st 2015. She will report directly into the Group CEO, Gilbert Ghostine, as a member of his executive team, after most recently serving as Chief Research and Development Officer at Unilever. Professor Berger will be based in Geneva, Switzerland and succeed to Dr. Toni Gautier, who is retiring from the Group at the end of June.
In her new role, Professor Berger’s mandate is to drive Firmenich towards its next level of scientific excellence, building on the Group’s leading innovation. She will focus on raising the bar in the contribution made by Research to Firmenich’s business success by maximizing the Group’s focus in the areas of greatest potential for its strategic customers and consumers.
Gilbert Ghostine, CEO, Firmenich, said: “I am very proud to be welcoming such a world-class science and business leader as Geneviève to my executive team. This appointment confirms and renews Firmenich’s deep commitment to scientific excellence and world-class research. Together, we aim to provide our strategic clients with cutting edge technology solutions and molecules that enable them to create value for their organizations and delight consumers.”
Geneviève Berger, said: “I am very excited to be joining Firmenich. Over the years, we have worked closely together as business and innovation partners. I have always felt close to Firmenich for our common commitment to scientific excellence, deep understanding of consumer needs and, last but not least, high level of social responsibility. It feels like a natural progression for me to be joining Firmenich today.”
An internationally recognized science and business leader, Professor Berger, brings to Firmenich an exceptional multi-disciplinary background. She holds three doctorates, namely in Physics, Human Biology and Medicine. Her broad experience ranges from research to improve the well-being of consumers with Unilever all the way to practicing medicine as a Medical Doctor and Professor at the Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière or the Pierre and Marie Curie University in France. Furthermore, she led one of the world’s largest research organizations, the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France, as well as, advised the European Commission and the French Government across a range of topics including Biotech, Agri-Food or Health. Also, she currently sits, as a non-executive director, on the Board of Astra-Zeneca and is proposed for nomination to the Board of Air Liquide this year.
Firmenich is recognized for its industry-leading commitment to research, as it invests 10% of its turnover annually to drive breakthrough science. Its technology platforms cut across ingredient creation for unique taste and smell experiences; delivery technologies to delight consumers where and when they want; or taste modulation to contribute to healthier diets through reduced sugar, salt or fat levels. The Group’s global research team runs four critical centers of excellence in Geneva, Switzerland; Princeton, United States; Shanghai, China; and Gujarat, India. Also, it works in close collaboration with a network of open innovation partners, including leading academic institutions worldwide as well as cutting edge start-ups.