Mike Robach will retire as Cargill global vice president of food safety, quality and regulatory (FSQR) on August 1, after nearly 15 years with the company.

Post retirement, Robach will continue his involvement with the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) as chairman of the board through 2020 and will continue to speak to food safety, quality and regulatory issues across the industry.

Sean Leighton, who has served as a food safety and quality leader at Cargill since 2017, will assume the role of global vice president of FSQR upon Robach’s retirement.

Mike Robach’s career

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 GFSI and a founding member of SSAFE. He has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding food safety policy, hazard analysis and critical control points (HAACP), and regulatory reform based on science.

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About Sean Leighton

Leighton will begin transitioning to his new role immediately. He began his career with The Pillsbury Company, followed by quality assurance and microbiology leadership roles with Land O’ Lakes Dairy. Leighton then joined The Coca-Cola Company, where held several leadership roles in food safety, including a multi-year assignment in Vienna, Austria. He also represented The Coca-Cola Company 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 vice president of quality assurance, safety and environmental sustainability.

Sean Leighton | Photo courtesy of Cargill

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 a master’s of business administration (MBA)  from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, Georgia.