Previously president of Natural Solutions and EVP at Frutarom and IFF.
What was your most exciting M&A experience?
Back in 2003, in the first month I was with Frutarom, we acquired a Swiss company called Flachsmann. This deal fundamentally changed the way we would go on to build the company. It bridged the way to two important new areas for us: nutrition and functional food. Being involved in the integration process, I quickly realized how critical culture is in transactions. With so much focus on the hard facts in a deal, I realized we can’t ignore the soft aspects. These learnings, specifically to work closely with global leadership and tap into a new culture, have been critical for the success of all future transactions.
Which ingredients do you believe will make it big, and which do you believe are never going to make it?
In general, I’m in favour of end-use products that are whole ingredients. From a nutritional point of view, I believe in single-cell technologies (algae, fungi, etc), which have the ability to play in many areas of the food market.
I am less convinced about what I like to call Frankenfood. Now more than ever, consumers are choosing healthier, more sustainable, and more recognizable options. With so many companies (incl. many incumbents) heading towards genetically modified or transgenic systems, it alters the way consumers interact with food.
Do you ever choose travel destinations based on the cuisine?
Absolutely! I have a close group of friends and we meet once a year with the goal of catching up, walking around, and eating well. We all grew up together in Melbourne and people have since dispersed all over the world. One of our memorable foodie trips was in 2016 when we went to Vietnam. We took cooking classes, did culinary tours, devoured street food, and had a great time!