Gerrit Smit

Gerrit is the managing director of Yili Innovation Center Europe, which is based in Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Before joining Yili he worked as SVP R&D at Valio, Finland (2011-2015), where he was responsible for leading the R&D teams, the R&D project portfolio and in particular the long-term strategy, and open innovation with external partners. Previous to that, he worked in Unilever (2004-2011) as R&D Director covering the areas of Flavour and Consumer Research as well as leading the Open Innovation in the area of flavours. He also was a member of the global management team of the Unilever Food and Health Research Institute.

From 1993 until 2004, he worked at NIZO food research in The Netherlands, where he was as board member responsible for the departments Flavour, Nutrition and Ingredients. Moreover, he held for 12 years an endowed professorship at Wageningen University (NL) in Molecular Flavour Science.

Gerrit got his MSc degree in Molecular Microbiology and Biochemistry, at Utrecht University, and his PhD degree in 1988 at Leiden University. He also worked as a post-doc for 2 years in R&D in the United States, followed by a staff position for 2 years at Leiden University.

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