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DIANE HIRAKAWA

Profession: Senior Corporate Executive
Position: Senior Vice President Research & Development, Pet Health & Nutrition, Iams

nimal activists think Diane Hirakawa is a monster for testing pet health care products on lab animals. Better lab animals than the companions of actual consumers, is Hirakawa's philosophy. Her efforts have also made her a recognized leader in the pet health and nutrition field. In the process, she has built up Iams' research and development team of four to the leading team in its field of companion animal research and development with over 200 employees. Its goal is to develop poducts that provide better nutrition for pets.

     Hirakawa was recruited by Iams right out of graduate school. She designed and oversaw the construction of Iams' first research facility which opened in 1987. She recruited nutritionists, veterinarians, chemists, engineers, microbiologists, animal technicians, and food scientists to build a global industry leader.

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     Her efforts earned her a promotion to Vice President of Research and Development in 1991. Six years later she became a senior vice president. In 1999, when Proctor and Gamble acquired Iams, Hirakawa was one of four executives on the senior management transition team responsible for introducing the relatively little known Iams to a larger consumer base.

     Hirakawa was born in Chicago, Illinois. She received a BS in Companion Animal Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received an MS degree in Non-Ruminant Nutrition in 1983, and a PhD in Companion Animal Nutrition and Nutritional Biochemistry in 1985.

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