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VP Innovation Partnerships, Nestlé

Helmut Traitler b&w

Professional experience

Helmut Traitler has a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Vienna, Austria. He was an Assistant Professor & Group Leader of a Research Team for Westvaco in Charleston, S.C., USA, working in Vienna, Austria.

Helmut is a citizen of Austria as well as Switzerland and holds a permanent residence card for the USA. Since 2007 he has his home in Pasadena, however frequently visiting Switzerland.

In 1981 he joined Nestlé Research in various functions. In the following years he became a member of the Editorial Board of JAOCS (J. Of Am. Oil Chemistry Society). He subsequently managed projects for low fat ice cream coatings at the Nestlé R&D Center in Van Nuys, California and projects for coffee extraction in Marysville, Ohio.

In 1993 he created the Nestlé Technology Transfer Team in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In 1994 he became head of the Department of Food Technology, and in 1996 head of the combined Science and Technology department (overall responsibility of over 200 people, 1/3 of which were Ph.D. and a budget of approximately CHF 35 million). During this period he was involved in and/or leading several major development projects such as freezing extrusion for Ice cream, generation of aromas above the cup in soluble coffee and Nestlé “Pure Life” water. The latter has become a multi-billion Dollar brand and the leading water brand in the world.

Different assignments included Head of the Nestlé Global Confectionery Research & Development, York, UK.

As Director of Nestlé USA Corporate Packaging in Glendale, CA, he was involved with Intellectual Property in Packaging, New Ways of Supplier Audits and Selection, RFID and New Designs for Infant Formula packaging.

In 2003 he became head of Nestlé Global Packaging and Design, Nestec Ltd., in Vevey. During this period he had strategic responsibility for activities covering a budget of around $ 7 Bn.

Between October 2006 and end of April 2010, Helmut was the V.P. of Innovation Partnerships at Nestec Ltd., working in Glendale, California as well as Vevey, Switzerland. During this period he initiated Nestle’s Global Open Innovation and had overall responsibilities for selecting innovation partners and projects.

In August 2010 he co-founded “Life2Years, Inc.” Life2Years, Inc. is a start up company in the area of healthy beverages for the 50+.

The successful ideation concept “IdeaStore” was developed and implemented by Helmut  during his tenure time at Nestlé and was utilized for the development of a plethora of projects. Many of them have led to new products and services with strategic innovation partners using open innovation. Helmut continues to lead ideation workshops and gives courses on Change Management, Science and Technology Transfer, as well as Entrepreneurship in large Organizations.

Helmut is the “Senior Innovation Connector” for swissnex San Francisco a public – private partnership organization with offices in Singapore, Beijing, Bangalore, Rio de Janeiro, Cambridge MA and San Francisco, sponsored by the Swiss government. In this function he has made several contributions such as leading panel discussions, webinars, blogs and connecting innovators. For example, check out: [http://nextrends.swissnexsanfrancisco.org/helmut-traitlers-thought-for-food/ ] [http://swissnexsanfrancisco.org/Ourwork/events/winningrecipes]

He has co-authored a blog on the theme of open innovation in the Huffington Post in early 2013 [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soren-petersen/open-innovation-20-innova_b_2422655.html]

He is actively involved in technology spin-offs of unique know how on behalf of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL in Pasadena, California.

Helmut is most recently involved in finding co-development partners of food products in the area of sports for a well-known golf company in Florida.

Helmut is the author of more than 60 mostly peer reviewed scientific publications, 25 international patents and most recently he is the principal author of the book “Food Industry Design, Technology and Innovation”., Wiley Blackwell and IFT, published in fall 2014.

His second book “Food Industry Innovation School: How to Drive Innovation Through Complex Organizations” is going to be published in May 2015, again by Wiley Blackwell.




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