Danone North America gets new CEO, forms Plant-based Acceleration Unit

USA – Danone has appointed Shane Grant as Executive Vice President and CEO Danone North America to lead its Essential Dairy and Plant-Based (EDP) as part of the company strategy to better align the business and unlock new opportunities.

EDP North America is Danone’s largest business and the biggest B Corp in the world. To further ensure that the business moves into new chapter in the company has also announced a number of key changes in the business.

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For the past three years, Danone says that the global EDP organization has focused on implementing a successful three-year integration program, especially following the 2017 acquisition of WhiteWave Foods for US$12.5 billion.

In that time, the French food and beverage giant established a solid operational backbone, executed a strategy that, for the first time, blended and cross-fertilized the essential dairy and plant-based elements of the category to meet the rising demand from consumers adopting flexitarian diets.

In addition, innovation capabilities were upscaled, and importantly the company notes that the US$300 millon run-rate synergies plan at the core of WhiteWave’s acquisition was delivered.

Danone now believes that the transformation of the EDP business in the region provides a strong foundation for it to move into a new chapter of growth; “one that captures the realities of a fast-changing market.” 

New Appointment

In order to achieve this, the company has decided to elevate EDP North America at Danone Executive Committee level and strengthen the local focus of its organization.

Danone has resolved to run the business will be as a separate business, led by a Shane Grant – who assumes office on May 11, 2020.

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As a result, Shane Grant will join Danone as Executive Vice President and CEO Danone North America, with effect from May 11, 2020, to lead the EDP business in that market.

Grant will report to Chairman and CEO Emmanuel Faber and will be a member of the Executive Committee. 

Before joining Danone, Shane Grant spent almost 20 years with The Coca-Cola Company, where he held various leadership roles in marketing, commercial and general management.

While working at Coca-Cola Grant served as SVP Glacéau and President, Coca-Cola Canada before being appointed President of the Still beverages business unit for Coca-Cola North America in January 2019. 

Plant-based Acceleration Unit formed

In addition, the company unveiled that it will create a Plant-based Acceleration Unit to leverage the power of EDP’s expertise in this area to unleash further growth opportunities across Danone.

Danone said that the move will support its ambitions of expanding into new geographies outside North America and more than double its plant-based sales worldwide from €2 billion in 2019 to around €5 billion by 2025.

The company has also unveiled plans of expanding the Plant-based Acceleration Unit into new categories, such as coffee, but also by leveraging plant-based expertise in categories outside EDP such as baby food and healthy ageing food solutions, and by pivoting more large brands into plant-based.

The Plant-based Acceleration Unit will be led by Francisco Camacho in addition to his current role in leading Essential Dairy and Plant-Based activities in Europe, Latin America, CIS and Aspame as Executive Vice President, EDP International.

In leading EDP International, Francisco Camacho will continue to drive EDP profitable sales growth internationally, building on the successful turnaround achieved in Europe under his leadership.

“I am grateful to our global and North American EDP teams for the great work achieved over the last 3 years in integrating WhiteWave and our Dairy business in the USA and Canada,” said Emmanuel Faber, Danone Chairman and CEO.

“With a sequential acceleration of sales growth, and the targeted $300m synergies already secured, we believe it is the right moment for Danone North America to start another exciting phase of development and to fully participate.

“I am deeply thankful for Francisco Camacho’s and the EDP team for steering and supporting the successful integration phase, and delighted to welcome Shane Grant as the new leader for Danone North America.

“I am also convinced that, as our large countries are now entering into a lasting covid19 recovery phase, this increased regional focus will be instrumental to adjust and execute our strategies to the local policies and realities,” Faber added.

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