Maria Velissariou

Global Research & Development Executive, former CSO Mars, Incorporated Senior Fellow ESF The Conference Board

Maria Velissariou True
Maria Velissariou

Maria Velissariou

Global Research & Development Executive, former CSO Mars, Incorporated
Senior Fellow ESF, The Conference Board

Dr. Velissariou is a Fortune 100 Research and Development executive
with diverse global experience driving vision and strategy, innovation,
and advocacy across the value chain in high-impact corporate and
nonprofit organizations. Throughout her career she has been
strategically focused on translating science and technology
opportunities into scalable innovation solutions. She is an advocate for
sustainable food systems, science-based policy and funding for food
research. Dr. Velissariou is motivated by business value creation
combined with human, societal and environmental outcomes.

Dr. Velissariou is founder of Maria Velissariou Consulting LLC,
providing expert consulting and advisory services in Food and Beverage
and adjacent sectors. She also partners with the Kirchner Group as
Managing Director focused on Innovation, Growth and Development.

Prior, Dr. Velissariou served as the Global Corporate R&D Vice President
and Chief Science Officer for Mars in McLean, Virginia. She led the
function’s enterprise-wide approach for Quality and Science in
partnership with the business segments. Key highlights: equipping the
R&D function with new digital capabilities to unlock deeper insights and
agility to drive innovation, efficiencies, and future-proof the business at
scale. She also expanded collaborations with government and Intergovernment Organizations (IGOs).

Before Mars, Dr. Velissariou held several senior leadership positions
including Chief Science and Technology Officer at the Institute of Food
Technologists (IFT), and VP Global Nutrition R&D and VP Quaker Foods North America R&D at PepsiCo. Additionally, Dr. Velissariou served in various roles at Kraft Foods in Europe and USA and Dow Corning Europe.

Dr. Velissariou received a Ph.D. and M.S. in Biochemical Engineering
from the University of Birmingham (UK), and a B.E. in Chemical
Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece). She
completed the Economics of Mutuality Executive Education at Oxford
University and received certifications in Executive Leadership, High-
Performance Leadership, and Digital Leadership from Cornell University.

Dr. Velissariou has held various board and advisory positions in diverse
organizations in the profit and nonprofit sectors. She is affiliated with
Endeavor Global as Mentor and Advisor and is a Steering Committee
member of the Nourish Movement. She has been long standing advocate
for women in STEM with a focus on the underserved. Under her
leadership/sponsorship, Million Women Mentors (MWM) (a signature
program of STEMconnector®) was elevated to a top PepsiCo DEI
initiative. Women Mentor Award recipient: Million Women Mentors
Introduction to Mexico.

Dr. Velissariou is a native of Greece and holds USA and UK citizenship.
She currently lives in Washington, DC.