FRANKLIN, TENN. — On Aug. 30, Mars Petcare appointed Alejandro “Alex” Cedeno to its Pet Nutrition North America team, a division of Mars Petcare. Cedeno will serve as senior vice president of research and development (R&D), improving Mars’ pet nutrition business through innovation that aligns with the company’s commitment to pets.

Prior to Mars Petcare, Cedeno served as vice president of R&D of pet food and snacks at The J.M. Smucker Company, where he directed innovation in the company’s pet food sector by overseeing organizational and technical operations. Cedeno has held other R&D and product innovation roles at WestRock, formerly Mead WestVaco, and Procter & Gamble.

"Alex is a people-first leader with a disruptive and innovative mindset," said Ikdeep Singh, global president of Mars Pet Nutrition. "A Better World For Pets is our purpose. It is core to everything we do and I'm confident that his global knowledge, passion for people and pets, and expertise in pet food innovation will make him an immeasurable asset to our Pet Nutrition R&D team."

Cedeno will leverage his more than 28 years of experience in global R&D, providing strategic and operational leadership and focusing on food safety, productivity, sustainability, product, process and packaging innovations, and regulatory and scientific affairs at Mars Petcare. He will also develop global R&D strategies, help build Mars Petcare’s innovation pipeline and oversee the deployment of science and technology throughout the company’s pet nutrition business.

"I'm honored to be joining Mars Petcare, a company that is focused on delivering its purpose with a dynamic team of Associates who are committed to making life better for pets and pet parents," Cedeno said. "R&D continues to transform the way we deliver on pet health through food and I'm looking forward to partnering with the team to accelerate our pet nutrition growth aspirations."

Cedeno has a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

In conjunction with Cedeno’s appointment, Mars Petcare revealed the retirement of Michel Oostwal, current senior vice president of R&D at Mars Pet Nutrition North America. Oostwal has lead innovation and R&D for the company for 12 years, aiding in the launch of Mars Petcare’s first Global Innovation Center, as well as leading product innovation and the transformation of its pet food portfolio.

To ensure a smooth transition, Oostwal has supported Cedeno’s onboarding since he originally joined the company in April 2022.

Read more about personnel changes throughout the industry.