Bolt out of the blue as Nicole Johnson-Hoffman announces she has left Believer Meats
Somewhat of a shock announcement late last night as Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, the charismatic CEO of Believer Meats, announced she has left the cultivated meat specialist. "It’s with mixed emotions that I share that I’ve moved on from my role as the CEO of Believer Meats," she stated on LinkedIn. "For 12 months it was my privilege and pleasure to serve the team of resilient innovators at Believer, whose goal is to bring sustainable, healthy and humanely produced food to the world. This team’s perseverance will forever inspire me."
Headquartered in Rehovot, Israel, Believer describes itself as 'the first cultivated meat company to break the commercial viability cost barrier, making cultivated meat that is delicious, non-GMO, healthy, sustainable, and available for widespread consumption'.
Johnson-Hoffman was named CEO of Believer, then Future Meat Technologies, in February 2022. A former Minnesota attorney, Johnson-Hoffman had more than 35 years’ experience in the agriculture, food manufacturing, food-service, and meat production industries.
She has overseen some key milestones for the company, including its rebranding from Future Meat Technologies to Believer in November 2022 and the groundbreaking of a new facility in the USA, which will give the company a commercial-scale headstart in the cultivated meat sector. When it's up and running, the state-of-the-art lab grown meat factory in Wilson, North Carolina will be the largest in the world, capable of producing 22 million pounds of food a year for consumers across the USA and beyond.
In recent months, Believer has announced key hires, so the departure of Johnson-Hoffman is something of a bolt out of the blue. Believer has welcomed Operations Planning & Performance VP, Kash Muthuraman, who brings more than 20 years of US food supply chain experience to his new role; Procurement VP, Conor Ruff, an expert manager with +15 years of global procurement experience; and Marketing VP, Peter Lee, a consumer packaged goods-industry veteran with more than a decade of experience at General Mills and Starbucks.
Continuing with her statement, Johnson-Hoffman said: "Despite the current turbulence in the US startup financial ecosystem, the political and social issues the people in Israel’s Startup Nation are contending with, and the increasing urgency of our global climate crisis, I look to the future with hope and confidence.
"Never in my career have I seen the level of innovation, exploration and creativity currently being brought to bear on solving the challenges of sustainably feeding a hungry planet," Johnson-Hoffman continued. "From traditional animal agriculture, to alternative proteins, to the quest to develop new-to-the-world sources of human nutrition, our best and brightest are converging on this shared goal. We will take many different paths to the destination, and some of these paths will prove longer and rockier than anticipated. But we are moving in the right direction and doing it together. I’m proud to be on this journey with you."
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