Mike Robach, global VP of food safety, quality and regulatory (FSQR), will be retiring on Aug. 1, after nearly 15 years with Cargill. Sean Leighton, who has served as a food safety and quality leader at Cargill since 2017, has been named to succeed Robach.
Robach joined Cargill in 2004 to lead the company’s corporate food safety and regulatory affairs programs and, since that time, has increased the department’s scope to include animal health and quality assurance. Robach is involved in more than a dozen industry organizations, including serving as the current chairman of the board of directors of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and a founding member of SSAFE. He has worked closely with the USDA and FDA regarding food safety policy, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HAACP), and regulatory reform based on science.
Post retirement, Robach will continue his involvement with GFSI as chairman of the board through 2020 and will continue to speak to food safety, quality and regulatory issues across the industry.
Leighton will begin transitioning to his new role immediately. He began his career with The Pillsbury Co., followed by quality assurance and microbiology leadership roles with Land O’ Lakes Dairy. Leighton then joined The Coca-Cola Co., where held several leadership roles in food safety, including a multi-year assignment in Vienna, Austria. He also represented Coca-Cola on boards including the UGA Center for Food Safety and the Institute for Thermal Processing Specialists. Before joining Cargill, he served as Coca-Cola’s VP of quality assurance, safety and environmental sustainability.
Leighton earned his bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin and has a master’s degree in food science and nutrition from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.