Sean Leighton, MBA


Sean Leighton is Cargill’s global vice president of food safety, quality, and regulatory. With a career spanning more than 15 years in the food and beverage industry, Sean has intimate knowledge of the science and standards that make food safe, and the strategies to ensure the quality of supply chains that feed our world.

Sean’s passion for food safety and quality extends beyond Cargill. He is the incoming president for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and sits on the advisory board of many organizations including, but not limited to, the Center for Food Safety (UGA), The Center for Food Integrity (CFI), Partnership for Food Safety Education, and the Food Fraud Think Tank (MSU).

In these leadership roles, and in his daily work at Cargill, Sean leads cutting-edge work to nourish our world in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way.

IFT Highlights

Sean has been a member of IFT since 1999, when he was a participant in the IFT Student Association product development competition. Since then, he has served in several volunteer opportunities as a presenter, panelist, podcast thought leader, and an advisory council member of the IFT Global Food Traceability Center.


BS in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison

MS in food science and nutrition from the University of Minnesota

MBA from Emory University