Sr. Director of R&D and Innovation

Chicago, IL

Posted: 04/12/2023 Industry: Laboratory - Food & Beverage Job Number: 126.23KO Pay Rate: 200,000 Experience:

Job Description

Sr. Director of R&D and Innovation

Strategic through leader responsible for establishing and executing Food Innovation, Research, and Quality Assurance Strategy for the organization that is aligned with the company’s Corporate Plan and Vision.  Serves as a strong leader for the company internally and externally, helping to build a culture of innovation and quality within the company.  Builds credibility with new and existing customer partnerships.  Exhibits strong leadership and sets clear vision, goals and objectives for Innovation, Research, and Quality Assurance teams.  Builds a team of high-performers across roles that meet and exceed the needs of the business.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Strong team builder & leader: Ability to lead large team of scientists-from innovation to quality-to deliver product solutions that meet the needs of our customers. Identifies key gaps in structure, and works with leadership to recruit, hire, and develop strong team of leaders
  • Exhibit strong capability to translate customer and consumer visions into robust solutions that meet the organizations needs from concept development to commercial launch
  • Strong communicator: Capability to drive communication demonstrating technical, customer, and consumer expertise internally and externally
  • Business Case Development: Leads team in design and possess capability to lead an innovation process toward the delivery of operational, cost, and new product innovations with strong alignment to customer need states
  • Works collaboratively with cross functional partners – Sales, Operations, Supply Chain, and Finance – to ensure the successful development of new product
  • Supplier Engagement: Aligns with Supply Chain and Operations to develop and manage supplier engagement process with core supplier partners and key industry and academic partners to strengthen the resources of the company
  • Maintains current comprehension of emerging trends and customer strategies and identifies unmet/unarticulated customer needs and identifies products to fulfill them
  • Identifies and monitors new technological developments for applications in the food industry relevant to company platforms and customers
  • Leads team to establish programs within operations and ensures the production of safe food; these programs may include HACCP systems, regulatory compliance, specifications and guidelines, sanitation standards and design, environmental monitoring, training, crisis management, policies and procedures, construction interventions, microbiological testing, new products, laboratory oversight and operating standards
  • Assures that manufacturing, testing and release functions are in compliance with all applicable state, federal and international GMP regulations. Serve as direct liaison with governmental agencies
  • Establishes and manages the metrics used to define performance that are aligned with company objectives including quality holds, waste, SQF or other audit targets, HACCP targets, etc. Analyzes trends to understand performance opportunities and close gaps
  • In partnership with Operations, ensures the companies manufacturing plants are audit ready every day. Performs and documents external audits of suppliers, vendors, manufacturers and service providers to identify deficiencies and non-conformances.  Assesses and reports the level of compliance to regulatory and quality requirements; and assures implementation of appropriate corrective and preventative action
  • Supports and initiates change in QA to promote continuous improvement. Recommends capital requirements as justified by the business plan.  Conducts appropriate benchmarking to evaluate and present opportunities to Senior Management
  • Ensures root cause analysis and utilizes other quality/problem solving techniques to resolve quality issues including product holds, customer complaints, GMP’s issues, etc.
  • Oversees the approval criteria of raw material vendors related to their ability to meet company quality standards
  • Responsible for the overall organizations readiness for governmental, 1st, 2nd and 3rd party audits through training of company staff on GMP’s and Food Safety, QA staff member auditing, record keeping of baseline metrics, and regulatory documentation
  • Establishes and maintains a process for internal audits that continually assess compliance. Identifies potential areas of compliance vulnerability and risk and provides guidance on system improvements and staff training

**If you’d like to hear more about this opportunity and others we are currently working on, please contact Kristine O’Sullivan at

JO:  126.23KO

Job Requirements

Technical Qualifications:

  • Minimum 15 years in industry and 10+ years’ management experience of cross functional teams in R&D functions; including R&D, QA, Sensory, Regulatory, Culinary, Technical Services
  • Minimum of 4+ years of management experience in a food manufacturing capacity that uses thermal and non-thermal food processing techniques and/or an equivalent combination of education and experience in food production and thermal food processing techniques. Applicable certifications desired (the thermal is NICE TO HAVE not a MUST HAVE)
  • Ability to travel 25+%
  • Strategic thought leader
  • Strong food science technical and analytical skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • Proven team leader and builder

**If you’d like to hear more about this opportunity and others we are currently working on, please contact Kristine O’Sullivan at

JO:  126.23KO

Meet Your Recruiter

Kristine O'Sullivan
Sr. Partner

The Food and Beverage Division specializes in the placement of technical professionals in the food and beverage industry from entry level to executive level candidates. I have a talented group of recruiters who specifically source Technical Sales Professionals, Scientists, Regulatory Affairs, Scientific Affairs, Executive Technical professionals, Quality Assurance, Product Development, Technical Service, Nutrition, Analytical and Corporate Chefs. We work on both a contingent basis for professional level searches and retained search for executive level searches. CPS, Inc. has been in the talent recruitment business for 40+ years and we recruit nationwide.

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