FRANCE – French multinational dairy giant Danone has made a number of executive leadership changes in response to the void left by the ouster of of former Chairman and CEO Emmanuel Faber.
Faber was forced out of his positions by a group of dissatisfied activist investors who believed he was not doing enough to turn around the company’s fortunes.
Following the departure of Faber, Danone Board appointed Gilles Schnepp, the immediate former Vice Chairman, as the new Chairman, effective immediately.
Danone’s board also announced that Véronique Penchienati-Bosett, currently the Executive Vice President of Danone International, will take over the role of CEO in an acting capacity while the search for a new chief executive is underway.
Current CEO of Danone’s North America division Shane Grant was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer and will assist Véronique in leading the business as the dairy giant reorganizes itself for the future.
Before his ouster, Faber had worked for Danone for over 2 decades, beginning his stint at the company in 1997.
He later rose through the ranks and was appointed CEO in 2014 and then Chairman and CEO of the French dairy giant.
In recent months, Danone conducted an open dialogue with shareholders, social partners and stakeholders, resulting in activist fund Bluebell Capital Partners calling for the company’s chairman and CEO roles to be split and for Faber to be replaced.
US investment firm Artisan Partners joined Bluebell in pushing for governance changes and efforts to deliver growth and consequently leading to his ouster.
“The priority of the board now is to transition towards an improved governance,” said newly appointed Danone chairman, Gilles Schnepp.
Schnepp also thanked Faber for his leadership and significant contributions to Danone since 1997 adding that the ousted CEO leaves Danone with a strong platform from which to accelerate and grow.
“His vision and commitment to One Planet, One Health are ahead of the industry and have ensured that Danone is a world leader on sustainability.”
Danone debuts Honest to Goodness creamer with sustainably sourced ingredients
Meanwhile, Danone North America’s new Honest to Goodness brand is launching a line of vegan plant-based creamers that support local communities where its ingredients are sourced and prioritizes the transparency of its supply chain.
The creamers, which are lactose-, gluten- and carrageenan-free, and non-GMO project verified, are available in three flavors: Madagascan Vanilla Bean, Unsweetened Madagascan Vanilla Bean and Himalayan Salted Caramel.
The new launch comes as homebound consumers prepare more of their own coffee and increase consumption of plant-based products during the pandemic.
Shoppers also are demanding additional transparency in the items they purchase, such as where the ingredients are sourced and labor practices used to raise them.
Honest to Goodness’ new coffee creamers aims to meet this demand while also also helping Danone North America define its commitment to transparency.
The coffee creamer also provides Danone another way to differentiate itself with a product that targets a new category of consumers compared to those who purchase its popular International Delight offering or Silk plant-based creamers.
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