Mars, Incorporated has announced the appointment of Dr Abigail Stevenson as its Chief Science Officer (CSO), a role that champions Mars’ involvement in global, cutting-edge scientific discovery.
In this role, Dr Stevenson will drive external partnerships with academia, non-governmental organisations and peers; help build the pipeline of leading science and technology talent at Mars; and provide leadership of the Mars Science Leadership Team, reporting to Nici Bush, vice president of Science and Technology for Mars.
Dr Stevenson assumes the CSO role in October and will retain her responsibilities as vice president of the Mars Advanced Research Institute (MARI), which connects Mars with emerging science and technology to spark discoveries with the potential to reinvent the future of its business.
She will also oversee the Mars Global Food Safety Center (GFSC), a state-of-the-art research and training facility that sits at the heart of a global network of partners and collaborators tackling the most significant food safety challenges facing the planet today.
“As the world around us continues to evolve, I am excited to be driving discoveries that have the potential to impact not only the future of our business, but also to improve the lives of people and pets around the world,” said Dr Stevenson.
“I’m fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best and brightest scientists, researchers and professionals across the globe, and I’m looking forward to continuing our important work together.”
In her career at Mars, Dr Stevenson has overseen significant research outputs, delivering innovative solutions to long-standing food industry challenges.
She has served in multiple roles with the Waltham Petcare Science Institute, including head of Science Communications and Engagement; and was director of the Mars GFSC from 2017 to 2020 before assuming the role of vice president of MARI.
Bush said she looked forward to continuing to work with Dr Stevenson as Mars continued to pursue an ambitious science agenda throughout the business.
“Mars’ commitment to science and technology is helping us solve consumer problems and address increasingly demanding global challenges. With more than 20 years of research experience, Abi brings the deep scientific experience needed to advance our business and make a positive impact on society,” Bush said.
For over a century, the Mars business has led pioneering research around the world, in fields related to sustainability, health and wellbeing and supply chain resilience.
Key projects that the business has delivered alongside partners have included supporting COSMOS, the largest clinical dietary intervention trial investigating the impact of flavanols on health; being a founding partner in the African Orphan Crops Consortium, which enabled the genome sequencing of 101 traditional African food crops traditionally neglected by science, and the discovery of a natural alternative to artificial blue food colorants in cabbage.
To do so, it has drawn on high calibre talent and five state-of-the-art research institutes: the Waltham Petcare Science Institute, the Cocoa Flavanol Research Hub, the Cacao Plant Science Hub & Origin Research Centers, MARI, and the GFS.