Starbucks Coffee Company announced Mary Wagner will join the company in the newly created role of senior vice president of Global Research and Development. Building on the success of Starbucks VIA Ready Brew, Wagner will help expand Starbucks pipeline of innovation with a focus on locally relevant products in key markets outside of the U.S.

Wagner, who will lead research and development and quality assurance efforts, will report to Annie Young-Scrivner, Starbucks global chief marketing officer.

“Starbucks has been successful leveraging innovation to bring new customers into the category, VIA ready brew is our most recent example,” says Young-Scrivner. “We are thrilled that Mary will be leading Starbucks effort to build out our global R&D capabilities and meet the evolving needs of our customers around the globe.”

Wagner brings to the role more than 20 years of experience in research, development, and quality assurance across a broad range of retail and consumer product companies. Prior to joining Starbucks, Wagner served as the general manager/chief technology officer for Mars Botanical (part of Mars Incorporated). Wagner has also led product innovation, engineering, and quality organizations with senior level roles with E.&J. Gallo Winery, Taco Bell, and Gorton’s.

Wagner holds a Ph.D. in food science and nutrition from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science in food technology and a Bachelor of Science in bacteriology from Iowa State University. She also has completed Harvard’s program for management development.

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