Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Beyond Meat
Ethan Brown is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Beyond Meat, a company dedicated to building meat directly from plants. Ethan gained an appreciation for agriculture and the natural world from his father, a professor, conservationist, and hobby farmer. This interest shaped the direction of his career, where he sought to make a contribution to climate change through the clean energy sector. His early work centered on electricity restructuring in support of an open grid, where his analysis at the gubernatorial level directly informed federal and state policies on grid management. Subsequently, Ethan joined the world’s leading Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell developer Ballard Power Systems, rising to report directly to the Company’s Chief Executive Officer.
Though passionate about clean energy, Ethan returned often to the role of livestock in our economy and became convinced that a change in the origin of the protein—from animals to plants—that we place at the center of our plates could simultaneously address human health, climate, natural resource, and animal welfare challenges in a unique and powerful way. In 2009, Ethan founded Beyond Meat. As of March 2022, the Company sold products at approximately 135,000 retail and foodservice outlets in over 90 countries worldwide. The Company’s flagship product, the Beyond Burger, revolutionized the meat aisle by being the first plant-based burger to be sold in the meat case alongside beef at major grocery chains including Kroger, Target, Walmart, and Whole Foods Market. In an effort to further democratize plant-based meat, Beyond Meat has partnered with some of the world’s largest restaurant chains including McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, Starbucks, Carl’s Jr., and A&W Canada.
Beyond Meat, a leader in plant-based meat, is routinely recognized for its innovation, including being named one of the inaugural TIME100 Most Influential Companies in 2021, Fast Company’s Brands That Matter 2021, TIME’s Best Inventions of 2018, a United Nations 2018 Champion of the Earth, and a multiple winner of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies awards.
Ethan holds an MBA from Columbia University and an MPP from the University of Maryland. He is a member of the 2017 Class of Henry Crown Fellows within the Aspen Global Leadership Network at the Aspen Institute, and was honored as part of Inc.’s Best Led Companies 2021, The Bloomberg 50 for 2019 as well as named one of Newsweek’s Top Innovators of 2019.