Animal-free dairy makers Perfect Day has recently announced that Robert Iger, former CEO and current executive chairman of The Walt Disney Company has joined the startup’s board of directors. Filling the first founder-designated board seat along with the Perfect Day’s co-founders, Iger will support the company’s rapid expansion and commercialisation plans within the next year.
The Berkeley, California-based startup, whose proprietary “flora-made” dairy proteins are made using fermentation technology, says Iger’s appointment will bring to the company a “unique blend of operational and global market excellence”. Having left his position at Disney after fifteen years as CEO in 2020, Iger has been credited as a key driving force behind the entertainment conglomerate’s branded-release strategy and revitalisation of its animation studio arm.
Iger will serve on the board of directors alongside Perfect Day’s co-founders, Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, as well as lead investor representatives Aftab Mathur of Singapore sovereign fund Temasek and Patrick Zhang of Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures.
“Perfect Day has established both innovation in its use of technology and novel approach to fighting climate change, and clear leadership in building a category with a multi-year head start in the industry they’re helping to build,” said Iger. “I’m thrilled to join at this pivotal moment and support the company’s swift growth into new categories and markets.”
The news comes as Perfect Day, currently the most well-funded protein fermentation company in the world, is at the forefront of the fast-growing sector, which is quickly establishing itself as a key alternative protein pillar alongside plant-based and cell-based categories.
Perfect Day has established both innovation in its use of technology and novel approach to fighting climate change, and clear leadership in building a category with a multi-year head start in the industry they’re helping to build. I’m thrilled to join at this pivotal moment and support the company’s swift growth into new categories and markets.Robert Iger
Shortly after announcing a US$300 million Series C round, the food tech’s founders launched a new sustainable food brand Urgent Company. Urgent Company will roll-out consumer-facing products that incorporate fermented animal-free dairy alternatives, from ice cream and milk to cheese and butter.
With Iger’s experience and leadership, the Bay Area startup hopes to speed up the expansion of its production capacity, solidify its partnerships with foodservice businesses and brands, and commercialise its product into new categories and markets within the coming year.
“We’re thrilled to have Bob Iger join our team, and are confident his tenured operational expertise and visionary leadership style will further help us scale our ambitions,” said co-founder and CEO Pandhya.
“Ryan Pandya, CEO and co-founder of Perfect Day. “We’re focused on rapid commercialization in the U.S. and globally. But we know we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re excited and humbled to have a proven leader like Bob to help us thoughtfully transform our purpose-driven aspirations into tangible and sustainable impact.”
Lead image courtesy of Drew Angerer / Getty Images / Perfect Day.