Impossible Foods founder Pat Brown transitioned from his role at the company he started to lead a new venture affiliated with the company.
The transition, first reported by Business Insider, was announced in two planned emails to Impossible Foods employees — one from CEO Peter McGuinness and one from Brown, a company spokesperson said. The new venture, which the company said will exist in addition to Impossible’s current R&D team, is tentatively known as Impossible Labs, Business Insider reported.
Brown — a medical doctor who was already well known for groundbreaking work on the genetic replication of HIV, co-founding the Public Library of Science and cancer research — started Impossible Foods in 2011. He continued as the company’s CEO until this March, when he stepped back and became the company’s chief visionary officer. The new post gave Brown — who was known for his straight talk on the food system and quirky optimism for plant-based food — responsibility for research and technology innovation, strategic initiatives and public advocacy.
Business Insider reported that Brown’s email said the new venture will “focus on the transformative innovation that will propel Impossible Foods to achieve our mission.” And Brown reportedly said in the email the company is searching for a new chief science officer to replace him.
Brown has been passionate about plant-based food’s potential to slow climate change. At an October 2020 virtual press conference, he announced plans to double the company’s R&D department. At the time, he said reforming the food system by developing plant-based alternatives to traditionally not-so-sustainable animal derived food products was the best way to change the world, and urged scientific professionals of all disciplines to join the company.
“A large fraction of even the scientific and engineering community really doesn’t have frankly a clue about the urgency and importance of the project that we’re doing,” Brown said at the 2020 press conference. “And so what we want to do is to really get the word out, OK? That whatever else you may be doing, however interesting and important you may think it is … is a drop in the bucket compared to the impact that you can have by helping us on this project. This literally is the most urgent and important scientific engineering project in human history, and we want to get the word out about that.”
Impossible Foods had no comment about the specifics of the new venture at this time.