The UK-based ingredients company has appointed Robert Fisher, a PhD in food science, following the retirement of Bob Schanefelt. Fisher has most recently served as executive director and chief operating officer for the International Life Science Institute, North America. "Tate & Lyle is well renowned as an ingredients company with a culture of innovation," said Fisher. "Continued investment in R&D, and the highly qualified backbone of research and applications scientists within the group, will drive further advancement. Bob Schanefelt has left a great legacy and I very much look forward to building on this." Indeed, the company has said that it intends to focus on developing its value added food ingredients business through its Global Food Ingredients Group. In addition, the company launched a new venture capital arm last year focused on next-generation ingredients. Tate & Lyle Ventures is slated to have a particular focus on health and renewable ingredients. "Food and healthcare are moving closer together," commented David Atkinson, co-managing partner, along with Simon Barnes, of the new venture arm. New technologies will be instrumental in this convergence as the worlds major food companies reposition themselves with a focus on innovation and health, he added. "We welcome Bob Fisher, who brings strong scientific and business leadership skills and significant experience in both consumer goods and agri-processing," said Stanley Musesengwa, chief operating officer, Tate & Lyle. "We look forward to continuing our progress in value added ingredient research and development under Bob's leadership." Tate & Lyle had a challenging year last year, but not as tough as 2005 when profits fell 79 per cent to 62 million euros. Changes to the EU sugar regime hit the firm hard, and Tate & Lyle has since been working hard to develop a strategy that addresses the new situation.