Danone chooses James Mayer to head its recently combined UK & Ireland business

UK – French multinational dairy company, Danone has appointed James Mayer as president of its newly-implemented business structure. 

The re-structured business now combines Danone’s specialized nutrition, plant-based, dairy, and waters businesses under one leadership team.  

The changes are the culmination of Danone’s global Local First project, first announced in November 2020 to help deliver greater business impact and drive sustainable growth.  

Danone says that the new structure is designed to ensure that its UK & Ireland business offers a more localized approach that best meets market and consumer needs and taps into growth in areas such as healthy ageing and plantbased alternatives.  

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Danone UK & Ireland produces and markets a wide range of brands including Alpro, Activia, Actimel, Evian, Harrogate, Volvic, Aptamil, and Cow & Gate.  

Mayer, a Danone veteran who has worked at the company for more than 17 years at Danone, will work alongside a new leadership team of nine vice presidents.  

Previously senior vice president, specialised nutrition for Europe and North America, Mayer has managed and integrated divisions across 23 markets. 

He has also led a team of nine zone general managers and has served as managing director for Danone’s UK Early Life Nutrition business and also as global commercial vice president, Early Life Nutrition. 

The newly restructured Danone UK & Ireland plans to build on this footprint and capitalise on growth opportunities by investing in its research, innovation, and digital capabilities. 

The business also plans to invest more on its brands, products, and services to further strengthen its market-leading position.  

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“Bringing together our category expertise will enable us to explore existing growth areas, as well as maximising new opportunities like the plant-based sector,” said Mayer.  

“By seeking new ways to promote healthier diets, we will drive sustainable growth through an even stronger portfolio of purpose.” 

Earlier, Danone invested US$23m for a UK plant upgrade for its plant-based dairy brand Alpro to meet the increasing demand for plant-based dairy products in the UK. 

The investment includes the installation of a new high-speed manufacturing line capable of processing 300 million litres of plant-based beverages per year, with further plans to increase its capacity to 400 million litres in 2022.  

Meanwhile back in France, Danone has announced that it has issued a €700 million bond with a 9-year maturity and a 0.52% coupon. 

Danone said the issue enables it to further take advantage of market windows to enhance its funding flexibility and extend the maturity of its debt. 

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