Chief Executive Officer

EIT Food

Chief Executive Officer

EIT Food

Leuven, Belgium


The main purpose of the CEO is to lead EIT Food in accordance with its strategic agenda, delivering on the impact pathways as agreed with the Main Funding Agency, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). Ensuring the financial sustainability of the organisation over the medium term, especially in light of anticipated reduced funding from the EIT is another highly important dimension of the role. The CEO will have a significant “outward facing role”, as much of the internal daily management and reporting will be done by the C-Level Executive Management Team.


Vision, Strategy and Business Planning:

  • Drive the development of the EIT Food Strategy and three-year grant agreement/business plan;
  • Actively communicate the EIT Food vision and strategy to all stakeholders, refining these as required by the evolving funding and impact landscape;
  • Actively operate to maintain, strengthen & broaden the EIT Food partnership;
  • Oversee the preparation and execution of the grant and framework agreements with the EIT and partner organisations and other funders; especially considering the change in funding mechanism, plus balancing the risk & opportunity to maximise the impact of direct grant management from 2023 onwards;
  • Ensure alignment and collaboration with and among EIT Food Regions;
  • Drive the strategic pivot to build broader funding routes and deliver a self-sustaining organisation at the end of the next 7 year EIT funding cycle (2031).


  • Support the development of a strong EIT Food culture and brand. Continue to build and develop a collaborative and highly effective management and operations team;
  • Establish effective and transparent channels of coordination, communication and reporting within the organisation and with the EIT and other potential funding bodies;
  • Chair the Management Board.

Represent EIT Food Internationally:

  • Act as a spokesperson of the Management Board both internally and externally to EIT Food;
  • Initiate, develop and maintain cooperative relationships with key initiatives relevant to EIT Food;
  • Develop and implement effective marketing and communication activities to promote EIT Food and the EIT brand;
  • Serve as a high-level representative for EIT Food towards the European Commission, the EIT and other stakeholders (including potential execution partners like WBCSD, WEF, Imagine food collective as well as potential funding partners like EIF, EIC, Bezos foundation, etc.);
  • Promote cooperation with other EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs).

Operations and Governance:

  • Provide general oversight of all EIT Food activities, oversee the management of day-to-day operations and assure a smoothly functioning and efficient organisation;
  • Oversee the design of the Business Plan portfolio including the selection and commissioning of projects executed by third parties/Partners, and the design of the business plan activities to be executed by the EIT Food organisation;
  • Ensure the quality of all programs and activities and organisational stability through development, implementation and monitoring of standards and controls, systems and procedures;
  • Ensure the effective governance and control of regional offices by taking a seat on the Board of each EIT Food legal entity and ensuring compliance with EIT Food procedures and alignment with the Strategic Agenda;
  • Manage effectively both human and financial resources, with consideration to the customs, culture and legal frameworks across the range of locations that EIT Food operates;
  • Support development of sustainable income streams including attracting and maintaining additional funding from private and public sources. Set priorities for the pursuit of alternative sources of funding/revenue and ensure compliance with the financial sustainability strategy across the organisation. Oversee the respect of fiscal relations at the national and European level including overseeing budgeting, reporting and auditing in close coordination with the COO as appropriate.

The CEO will report to the Supervisory Board of EIT Food.


The CEO will be responsible for driving the success of EIT Food, developing the organisation to achieve impact and sustainability in financial terms.

  • They will be a results-orientated strategic leader with a strong executive network in the agri-food business sector, with ideally also experience in one of the other two segments (education and research);
  • They will have a track record of building, managing and mentoring high-performing diverse teams and demonstrate a hands-on and collaborative attitude as well as capabilities in creative problem-solving and change management;
  • They will have a solid scientific understanding and commercial acumen with the ability to take grounded decisions on where to invest, managing a R&D funnel and a project pipeline;
  • They will be committed, entrepreneurial, ambitious and able to create and drive a strategic vision in a highly distributed and complex multi-stakeholder environment;
  • They will have strong communication, interpersonal, and influencing skills and the ability to build relationships inside and outside the organisation, and to effectively partner with international stakeholders at all levels;
  • They come with a strong network with C-suite executives in the agri-food business sector, ideally within the EU;
  • They will bring relevant experience of developing networks with investors, with the aim of attracting additional financial resources and investment, or the knowledge and capability to develop these networks, and experience of managing large-scale budgets;
  • Familiarity with and experience in working with national and European authorities, alongside knowledge of the EU policy context is an advantage;
  • Successful experience in building communities of partners with common (but also on certain matters less aligned) interests across borders is a useful asset;
  • A scientific degree combined with a MBA degree is preferred, along with a minimum of 15 years’ experience in relevant industries;
  • Fluency in English is essential (familiarity with other European languages is an advantage).

Please note where candidates have a previous relationship with any EIT Food Partners, to reference this in your application. A cooling period of two years is strongly recommended.


Full-time permanent position.


The role location will be Leuven (Belgium), with regular travel to the regional offices, the partners, the EIT and other stakeholders. The CEO will need to assure a minimum presence at the head office in Leuven. Having a permanent residence in Belgium is not required, but an advantage. The role will be recruited through the Belgian legal entity, EIT Food ivzw.

A prerequisite for this role is a work permit for the European Union. Because of the focus on Europe it would be favourable if the successful candidate were from a member state country of the EU, or has extensive experience in working in an EU environment.


The aim is to ensure a permanent CEO of EIT Food is in place by Q1 2024.

Applications should comprise a full curriculum vitae along with a covering letter of application addressing the role and person specification.

The closing date for applications is Friday 13th October 2023 at 12:00 CET.


EIT Food is an equal opportunity employer, offering each candidate matching the minimum obligatory qualifications and experiences an equal chance in employment and promotion procedures.

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© EuroJobsites 2023

EuroJobsites is a registered company number: 4694396 VAT number: GB 880 9055 04

Registered address: EuroJobsites Ltd, Unit 8, Kingsmill Business Park, Kingston Upon Thames, London, KT1 3GZ, United Kingdom