Christine M’Rini Puel, MD, PhD, previously a vice president at Danone SA, has been named chief R&D officer at Lesaffre. She succeeds Carmen Arruda, who took over the management of Biospringer, Lesaffre’s business unit specializing in yeast extracts, after Brice-Audren Riché, formerly general manager of Biospringer, was appointed chief executive officer of Lesaffre in December.
Dr. Puel joined Lesaffre’s executive committee on Jan. 1.
“I fully share Lesaffre’s values and desire to innovate in all its sectors of activity,” she says. “Indeed, the study of microorganisms and fermentation represents a fantastic potential for innovation in food and nutrition and health sectors, whether human, animal or environmental. I am therefore delighted to put my 30 years of experience at the service of Lesaffre’s ambition to work together to better nourish and protect the planet.”
Dr. Puel joined Danone as R&D manager in the fresh dairy division in 2013. In 2017 she was named vice president of research and innovation for the medical nutrition division in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and in 2019 she became vice president of research and innovation for all health and science topics in the specialized nutrition division (infant milk and medical and specialized nutrition). She led Danone’s research and innovation programs on microbiota, immune system defense and/or muscle, bone and cognitive aging.
Dr. Puel holds a doctorate in medicine and a doctorate in science. She began her career in 1990 as an assistant at the Faculty of Medicine and Rangueil Hospital in Toulouse, France, later becoming senior lecturer and hospital practitioner in human physiology. She completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School in Boston during this time period. In 2008 Dr. Puel joined Institut Mérieux, a holding company of five companies, as scientific director.
“Research and development has always been at the heart of Lesaffre’s DNA and represents one of the major pillars of our development strategy,” Riché says. “We are delighted to welcome Christine M’Rini Puel as head of this department. Thanks to her wide-ranging experience, she has the ideal profile to continue to accelerate innovation in our two main business areas: bread-making and nutrition and health.”