Impossible Foods Appoints Vanessa Wittman to Board of Directors

  • Finance and tech industry veteran joins food startup’s board
  • Seasoned, former public-company CFO becomes seventh board member and chair of audit committee
  • Impossible Foods will launch Impossible™ Burger this month in Singapore and later this year in retail outlets in the United States

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--()--Impossible Foods announced today that Vanessa Wittman has joined the food tech startup’s board of directors and become the chair of its audit committee.

The tech industry veteran has more than 30 years of experience in finance and technology and has served as a senior executive at both startups and major multinationals. Wittman most recently served as Chief Financial Officer at Oath, a Verizon subsidiary and the parent company of Yahoo, AOL, HuffPost, and other brands. Prior to Oath, Wittman was CFO at Dropbox; Motorola Mobility, a subsidiary of Google; and Marsh & McLennan Companies.

Wittman currently serves on the board of directors of Ulta Beauty; she previously served on the boards of Sirius XM Holdings and InfoSpace. Wittman is an independent member of the FIFA Finance Committee and serves on the board of advisors for the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School and the executive board of the Educational Foundation’s Rams Club.

“I’m thrilled to join Impossible Foods, which sets the gold standard for R&D companies thanks to its laser focus on basic science. It’s also a leader for diversity and gender equity among Silicon Valley tech startups,” Wittman said. “I look forward to helping the company fulfill its ambitious mission to eliminate the need for animals from the food chain.”

Wittman is the seventh director of Impossible Foods. Impossible Foods’ CEO and Founder Dr. Patrick O. Brown is Impossible Foods’ chairman of the board.

Other board members include:

  • Fedele Bauccio, Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder of Bon Appétit Management Company
  • David Botstein, Chief Scientific Officer of Calico LLC and Professor Emeritus of Genomics at Princeton University
  • Samir Kaul, founding general partner at Khosla Ventures
  • Tal Ronnen, founder and chef of Los Angeles-based Crossroads Kitchen and author of the New York Times bestseller The Conscious Cook
  • Bart Swanson, advisor at Horizons Ventures, the Hong Kong-based private investment fund of Mr. Li Ka-Shing

“Vanessa has a stellar reputation as one of the most highly-regarded business leaders in the tech world,” said Brown, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at Stanford University and a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “Her analytical mind, financial rigor, and commitment to our mission significantly strengthen our board and will accelerate Impossible Foods’ growth and maturation as a business.”

Delicious, nutritious, ubiquitous

Wittman’s appointment to the board comes at a critical moment in Impossible Foods’ growth trajectory. Impossible Burger is now served at more than 5,000 restaurants across the United States, Hong Kong and Macau. Next month, the company will debut its flagship product in Singapore, and later this year it will launch in retail outlets in the United States.

Last month, Impossible Foods launched its first product upgrade at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where “Impossible Burger 2.0” took home the show’s highest honors, including “Best of the Best,” “Most Impactful Product,” and “Most Unexpected Product.” Impossible Burger’s first product upgrade since its 2016 public debut was also hailed as the tech show’s “Best Product Launch” and a “Triumph of Food Engineering.”

Based in Redwood City, Calif., Impossible Foods uses modern science and technology to create wholesome and nutritious food, help restore natural ecosystems, and feed a growing population sustainably. The company makes meat from plants – with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals.

To satisfy the global demand for meat at a fraction of the environmental impact, Impossible Foods developed a far more sustainable, scalable, and affordable way to make meat, without the catastrophic environmental impact of livestock.

Shortly after its founding in 2011, Impossible Foods’ scientists discovered that one molecule — “heme” — is uniquely responsible for the explosion of flavors that results when meat is cooked. Impossible Foods’ scientists genetically engineer and ferment yeast to produce a heme protein naturally found in plants, called soy leghemoglobin.

The heme in Impossible Burger is identical to the essential heme humans have been consuming for hundreds of thousands of years in meat — and while the Impossible Burger delivers all the craveable depth of beef, it uses far fewer resources because it’s made from plants, not animals.

About Impossible Foods:

Based in California’s Silicon Valley, Impossible Foods makes delicious, nutritious meat and dairy products from plants — with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals. The privately held company was founded in 2011 by Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at Stanford University, and a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Investors include Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, Google Ventures, Horizons Ventures, UBS, Viking Global Investors, Temasek, Sailing Capital, and Open Philanthropy Project.

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Jessica Appelgren


Jessica Appelgren