Sr. Director, Food Platform North America – Fort Worth, TX

Industry: Food & Beverage




Groupe Danone

The parent company of Dannon has its headquarters in Paris, France.  The company has three main divisions; the Dairy division, The Biscuits division, and the Water Division, Groupe Danone’s Dairy division is the largest in Europe.  Lu Biscuits and Evian are examples of Danone’s product lines.  The Groupe, as it is known internally, has manufacturing facilities in almost two dozen countries and has a presence in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and Asia.


The Dannon Company, Inc.

The Dannon Company, Inc. is an integral part of Groupe Danone.  Dannon has three manufacturing centers in the United States; Fort Worth, Texas, West Jordan, Utah, and Minster, Ohio,  Our headquarters and main sales offices are located in White Plains, New York.  The company’s R&D Center is in Fort Worth, Texas.  Dannon is one of the two largest providers of yogurt products in the United States.  The company has an excellent reputation for quality and product innovation.  In 2004 Dannon launched the first Low Carb Yogurt product in the United States.  In 2006 Dannon launched Activia, a pro-biotic yogurt that promotes a healthy digestive tract.  Our innovative products have led the market for many years.





The objective of the Director of Research and Development will be to direct the design, development and implementation of research and development initiatives to support business objectives. The incumbent will also maintain effective cross-functional relationships across the entire Groupe Danone organization to ensure successful planning and execution of initiatives. S/he will utilize existing and/or emerging technologies to design and build consumer-valued points of competitive differentiation that drive tactical and strategic business growth.


Leadership is a critical component of this role.  The successful candidate will have demonstrated through previous work and achievements the following leadership characteristics:

  • Commitment-commitment to the business and the ability to deliver break through results
  • Open-a “straight talk” community approach with the ability to listen with empathy and create connections both within and outside the company.
  • Empower-the ability to provide the leadership necessary to energize and align teams, coach and harness diverse talent.
  • Doer-takes responsibility and risk to show the way forward.  Works with speed, agility and pragmatism.


Leading through an energetic and action oriented style, must demonstrate the ability to execute a plan timely and effectively through the use of limited resources and an internal global network of professionals.


Additionally, and importantly, the Director of R & D will be responsible for the start up of a testing facility in Fort Worth, Texas.  This facility will be used for purposes of developing and testing new and existing Dannon products.





  • Responsible for providing focused, responsive and inspirational leadership to the North American research and development team of Dannon.
  • Responsible to continuously improve and develop the skills and competencies within the team.  Demonstrated ability to teach, develop and grow people is critical to this position.
  • Responsible for developing relationships throughout global Groupe Danone in order to facilitate cross-border innovation and thought leadership across the enterprise.
  • Responsible for leading cross functional efforts with both Marketing and Operations to ensure a strong consumer/quality focus for all products.  This responsibility includes leading efforts on innovation, renovation and various productivity projects.
  • Responsible for overseeing all technical aspects of research and development for North American yogurt business.
  • Assure the proper planning, execution, and monitoring of approved research and development projects for business planning and performance.
  • Actively participating in the short and long term strategic product and process planning at Dannon and Groupe Danone by continuously scanning the both the internal and external environments for new product and process technologies and spearheading the commercialization of these technologies.
  • Responsible for the development of R&D plans and allocate R&D resources.
  • Develop new and improved product and process specifications to meet the growth and profitability objectives of the business.
  • Identifying “big ideas” for product optimization and business risk mitigation associated with ingredient markets and regulatory directives
  • Providing leadership in the process of diagnosing and recommending corrective action for technical and product problems.
  • Identify emerging technology, food trends, and provide guidance for their development.
  • Leading and directing the product project management process at Dannon by making sure that key priorities and objectives are being met, technical resources are deployed effectively, and a balanced technical program is maintained.
  • Directing Dannon patent and trade secret strategies to ensure that products and processes are well protected and have competitive advantage in the marketplace
  • Assisting in providing technical information and service to our internal/external customers and suppliers 
  • Actively participate in relevant industry trade associations and professional organizations.
  • Annual budget preparation.





  • Education / Experience:
    • Masters degree in food related discipline, engineering or sciences.
    • Ten-fifteen years experience in the food industry, including a minimum of 5 years of research management experience.
    • International experience, particularly Europe, a significant plus.
    • Skills/Knowledge: 


  • Demonstrated leadership abilities combined with the ability to network and resource global resources that are internal to the organization.
  • The ability to operate flexibly and independently combine with exceptional networking and interpersonal skills.
  • Resourceful and driven, proven ability to sell ideas, develop solid strategies and execute quickly and efficiently.
  • Ability to work in a fast paced, demanding environment while maintaining perspective and balance.
  • Hands-on leadership style, demands of him/herself, deep engagement in the business and a thorough understanding of people, processes and systems.
  • Project Management; Problem Solving; Decision Making; Process Excellence
  • Research into current and novel areas of dairy science and “live food” delivery systems.
  • A knowledge of quality systems and state of the art techniques in the field
  • Must have strong presentation and personal interaction skills
  • Highly knowledgeable regarding patent and regulatory affairs
  • The ability to interact effectively with external agencies is critical
  • Excellent business acumen and a track record of good decision-making (balancing the complex nature of the quality role so that all aspec

Company Name:

The Dannon Company

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