Jim Kirkwood brings 38 years of cross-functional experience in the Food, Ag and Pet Food industry including assignments in Innovation, R&D, Marketing, General Management, Operations, Central Research and Quality
Jim recently retired from General Mills Inc. as Chief Science and Technology Development Officer and Vice President, GTECH; (General Mills’ Global Center for Technology Creation). In this role, Jim led a team of research scientist and engineers in identifying and developing broadly applicable strategic technologies to “change the game” and enable sustainable growth for all of the company’s Global Operating units. He was responsible for leading GMI’s central technology organization which included developing technology in Crop Bio sciences, grain, macro ingredients, advanced packaging/process technologies as well as technologies to maximize consumer experience in the areas of taste, texture, and trust. His team additionally was responsible for advancing the company’s connected innovation effort.
Jim founded the GTECH organization in 2006 after spending the previous 10 years leading application R&D and innovation efforts in several key business units. These included Director roles in Pillsbury’s Refrigerated/Frozen Baked Goods Division, and VP of R&D for Snacks and Small Planet (organic) Foods Innovation. During his tenure in Snacks, several large and very profitable new businesses were created including the Sweet and Salty and Fiber 1 Snack franchises.
He also spent five years as Vice President of the GMI One Global Meals Platform where he led support for the six Divisions which offer Meals and side dish products. His team’s responsibilities included the stewardship of product quality as well as the development of new products, new differential technologies, product/package Improvements and productivity for the Brands in the Meals Global platform including Green Giant, Old El Paso, Totino’s, Progresso, Hamburger Helper, Wanchai Ferry and Betty Crocker Potatoes.
Cross-functionally Jim served in General Mills Supply Chain, Sourcing Technology and Supplier Quality Assurance leadership roles. Prior to General Mills, Jim also served in various cross-functional leadership positions at Heinz, Quaker Oats and Kellogg including General Manger/Marketing Director for the Kibbles ‘n Bits Pet Food business, Director of New Products Marketing for Quaker Pet Foods and several R&D product, process and package development roles in the food and pet food business.
Jim’s education includes an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University.