Bilal Kaafarani – Keynote Speaker

Chief Innovation Officer and Group President of Yildiz Holding, major Turkish manufacturer of food products

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Specialist Subjects

  • Innovation
  • Customer experience
  • Leadership


  • English


Bilal Kaafarani is Chief Innovation Officer and Group President of Yildiz Holding, the major Turkish manufacturer of food products, and Vice Chairman of NorthStar Innovation Company, a branch of Yildiz Holding. Bilal leads the efforts to embed Innovative thinking across the chain, whilst working with key stakeholders to create new business categories that are driven by consumer demands.


As a global innovation executive, Bilal has worked at P&G, Kraft, FritoLay, Pepsico International and The Coca-Cola Company. Key innovation platforms developed under Bilal’s leadership include: Coca-Cola’s groundbreaking Freestyle fountain drink equipment, Glaceau’s international expansion of Vitamin Water, Minute Maid Supermilky Pulpy, Simply Orange’s new range of juice product offerings, Frito Lay’s transition from highly saturated fats (palmoline) to high oleic oils (sunflower) for Lays, Cheetos, Doritos, and Ruffles; the development of Sensations, Artesana and Sun Chips, as well as Marketplace Innovations on brands such as Kraft Natural Cheese, Jell-O, TANG, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Toblerone, Milka and Altoids, and the acclaimed Category Innovation platform that resulted in a wide range of highly successful fat free products under the label of “Kraft Free”.


Bilal co-authored the book “Breaking Away: How Great Leaders Create Innovation that Drives Sustainable Growth–and Why Others Fail”. He was also named by BusinessWeek as one of the world’s “Top 25 Masters of Innovation”.


Bilal was inducted into the “Hall of Fame” for Wayne State University’s College of Engineering in 2008. In addition to his academic achievements, he holds patents for a number of breakthrough food sector technologies. Bilal had also served on the Innovation Advisory Board of Humana Corporations, which has now become the biggest US health insurance company.


Bilal Kaafarani is also a member of the Scientific Board for the Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation (GAV) which was established in 2009 with the objective of enhancing the knowledge of nutrition science, in the public domain, with a special focus on the Turkish population and neighbouring regions.

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