Chris Nelson is president & CEO of Kemin Industries, a global nutritional ingredient company specializing in improving human and animal health through molecular innovations. The company operates manufacturing facilities on six continents and has more than 45 offices worldwide. Kemin touches more than two billion people daily with products for specific health and nutrition solutions.
Dr. Nelson began his career with Kemin in 1980 as director of research and development (R&D); however, since 1993, he has served as president of Kemin. Distinguished among the company’s many commercial and scientific advances is the fact that Kemin pioneered the process of isolating and purifying the antioxidant molecule lutein for human consumption in supplements and fortified foods. Researchers have identified lutein as playing a central role in human eye health, specifically in reducing risk of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of adult blindness. Over 60 million people consume lutein daily through multivitamins or concentrated lutein supplements.
Under his leadership at Kemin, the company has more than quadrupled in size and now employs nearly 2,000 people.
Dr. Nelson received his undergraduate training at Northwestern University and his Ph.D. in biochemistry and biophysics from Washington State University. He holds 15 patents and has authored numerous peer-reviewed, published research studies.
Dr. Nelson was named one of the top 100 CEO Leaders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in June 2013. In July 2015, he was named as co-chair of the STEM Advisory Council. He also serves on the board of the Des Moines Symphony, and the Des Moines Community Foundation, among others. He continues to have a passion for science education and serves on the Board of the Science Center of Iowa, where he helped lead a successful development effort for construction of the $62 million interactive learning center.