CIA names Google foodservice exec Michiel Bakker as president

Bakker will succeed Tim Ryan, who moves to the position of chancellor of the Culinary Institute of America.
The CIA has campuses in New York, California, Texas and Singapore. | Photo: Shutterstock

The Culinary Institute of America will have a new president this fall.

Michiel Bakker on Friday was named the incoming president, the sixth to lead the culinary college. He steps into the new position officially on Sept. 1, and succeeds outgoing president Dr. Tim Ryan, who is moving into the new role of chancellor.

Bakker comes to the CIA after 12 years in global leadership roles at Google, based in Mountain View, California. There, he was responsible for the tech campus’s Food at Work program, which included all foodservice-related activities and initiatives. He also worked on developing internal and external partnerships to explore challenges and opportunities in global food systems.

“In its 78-year history, the CIA has had just five presidents—pretty astounding when you consider that the average college president’s tenure is less than six years,” said John Metz Jr., chair of the CIA’s board, in a statement. “We were committed to finding the person who would ensure that the CIA continues to be the world’s premier culinary college. Michiel Bakker’s experience speaks for itself, and we are confident he is the president to build on the CIA’s strong foundation and usher the college into its next era.”

Michiel Bakker

Michiel Bakker | Photo courtesy of the CIA.

At Google, Bakker also led the Global Workplace Programs, with overall responsibilities for events, heath and performance, transportation and food-at-work services for more than 250,000 people worldwide. And, most recently, he steered workplace and sustainability efforts for the company’s global office real estate portfolio.

Before he joined Google in 2012, he spent 17 years with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., in various food-and-beverage operations roles.

Originally from the Netherlands, Bakker has long been involved in food systems innovation, serving on boards of organizations like the EAT Forum and the World Food Program Innovation Accelerator. He hosts the Food Lab Talk podcast, and contributed a chapter to the book “Food Inc. 2,” which was also a documentary.

He has also worked with the CIA for years, serving on the advisory councils for the college’s Sustainable Food Systems master’s degree and its Menus of Change initiative; and he piloted the ProChef Plant-Forward Kitchen training and certification program at Google.

Bakker, in a statement, called the job a dream come true, saying it will bring together his deep passion for all things food and beverage with lifelong learning, hospitality and enabling people to be at their best.

“Building upon the college’s legacy, reputation and alumni network, I’m excited and eager to collaborate with the incredible faculty, staff and stakeholders to propel the CIA forward, ensuring students continue to graduate with skills and knowledge to thrive in the dynamic and most amazing and rewarding world of food and beverage,” he said.


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