impossible foods
With a marketing degree in hand, Peter McGuinness spearheaded to major companies. Source: Andrew Toth /Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP

Did you have life all figured out when you graduated high school?

Like many college students, Peter McGuinness was clueless about his future after graduating high school.

Today, he is the president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Impossible Foods — one of the biggest plant-based industries in the US.

In this, you might wonder: how did he do it?

To answer this question, let’s take a look at his life and how his marketing and economics degree paved the path to success:

Early life in New Jersey

Raised in Monmouth Beach, a small town in New Jersey located near the ocean, his parents set an excellent example for him to remain persistent and one day achieve success. 

His mother was a small business owner, and his father led the |Crafted with Pride in the USA” programme (a high-profile effort to encourage American consumers to buy domestically made textiles and apparel). 

When it came time for his education, McGuinness attended Christian Brothers Academy, a private, all-boys preparatory school focusing on Christian education. 

Upon graduation, he pursued a marketing and economics degree at Roger Williams University — not knowing that the programme would equip him with the skills and knowledge he would later need in his career.

At uni, he interned at the accounting department of McCann, a global advertising agency. 

A training programme that changed his career path

Upon graduation, he applied to McCann, but things didn’t go as planned. 

“I showed up, explained that I wanted to be in account management, but their head of HR said, ‘Nope. At McCann, you need an MBA for that’,” he told Consumer Goods Technology (CGT).

From there, he joined a local media buying department as an assistant buyer in a local broadcast. Still having his eye set on McCann, he decided to join a training programme at the company. 

“There was a team competition, and I’d been made the media person on a cross-functional team, developing campaigns and presenting to the global executive team. When our team won, the CEO pointed at me and said, ‘Let’s get this kid into account management’,” he shares in his conversation with CGT.

McGuinness was in account management, where he was supposed to remain for two years.  

Being the overachiever he is, he was promoted to account executive six months into his role. 

The best part? It didn’t stop there. 

McGuinness quickly rose through the ranks and became McCann’s youngest vice president, senior vice president and executive vice president. 

impossible foods

Peter McGuinness is the former president of America’s number one Greek yoghurt, Chobani. Source: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP

Leading Chobani to growth and success

After McCann, the marketing and economics graduate held several roles at the marketing company Momentum Worldwide and served as president and CEO of advertising agencies DDB Chicago and Gotham.

Eventually, he would find himself at Chobani, the US’s number one Greek yoghurt brand. 

Here, he devoted nine years to which he scaled operations, expanded the business into new categories, including oat milk, and helped build the company into an iconic brand.

Like his time at previous companies, he would hold several positions at Chobai — starting as chief marketing and commercial officer before becoming the president and CEO of the company.

impossible foods

Impossible Foods is a company that aims to produce plant-based substitutes for meat products. Source: David McNew/AFP

Securing his role as Impossible Foods CEO

With 30 years of consumer expertise, McGuinness embarked on his next journey as the CEO of Impossible Foods in April 2022. 

The company focuses on making plant-based substitutes for meat products. 

He would lead the company into its next phase of global growth and help increase the consumption of plant-based products worldwide. 

“My goal is to make Impossible products totally and utterly accessible to consumers all over the world,” he shares on his LinkedIn.