Institute of Food Technologists names Leighton new board president
Sean Leighton, global vice president of food safety, quality and regulatory at Cargill, is the new board president of the Institute of Food Technologists, a nonprofit with 12,000 individual members from more than 100 countries committed to advancing the science of food since 1939.
Leighton, an IFT member since 1999, succeeds Christopher Downs. Leighton has served in several volunteer roles including presenter, panelist and advisory council member of the organization’s Global Food Traceability Center.
“Sean’s commitment to advancing the science of food has long been an inspiration to IFT, its members, and the science of food community in general,” IFT CEO Christie Tarantino-Dean said in a news release. “He brings a unique perspective to the role, not only as a global leader in industry, but also as a former student member. Sean has been an IFT champion for more than 20 years, and we are excited to see the impact he will now make as president of IFT.”
Before joining Cargill in 2017, Leighton served as vice president of quality assurance, people safety and environmental sustainability at The Coca-Cola Co., where he spent 12 years. Prior to that, he worked at Land O’Lakes Incorporated.
Leighton sits on numerous advisory boards, including The Center for Food Safety (University of Georgia), The Center for Food Integrity, Partnerships for Food Safety Education, and the Food Fraud Think Tank (Michigan State University). He holds a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a master’s degree in food science from the University of Minnesota, and an MBA from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
“I am incredibly humbled and excited to step into the role of IFT president,” Leighton said. “The IFT community means so much to me because of the important and impressive role it plays in bringing together leaders across industries, governments, and academia to help ensure our global food system is safe, nutritious and sustainable. I am looking forward to the year ahead and having this opportunity to serve IFT and the science of food community.”