Danone combines CEO and Chairman role, appoints Africa business executive

FRANCE – Danone’s CEO, Emmanuel Faber, has taken an expanded role at the company as the company has combined the functions of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

As Danone, the world’s leading food, beverage and dairy giant sets up for the next wave of growth in a changing environment, it has also made a number of changes to its executive committee, appointing an executive to focus on Africa, which has been merged with the waters business roles.

Faber, who has served as CEO since 2014, has been appointed to the combined Chairman and CEO role, effective 1 December 2017 as the company’s enhanced Chairmanship role, taken by Franck Riboud in, comes to an end this year.

Mr. Faber will succeed Franck Riboud as Chairman, who will become Honorary Chairman of Danone and will continue to serve as a Director of the company and a member of the Strategic Committee of the Board.

The company states that by combining the two roles under Faber, the company will better serve the company, going forward, entering a ‘new development phase.’

“Combining the Chairman and CEO roles will solidify this momentum, creating a direct bridge between the Board and management that will enable the company to continue to execute on its strategy, speak with a unified voice and make decisions in an agile and transparent manner,” said Franck Riboud.

Franck Riboud, who has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for 23 years, hands over the reigns of Danone at a time when the company has solidified its investments in the dairy industry in Africa, where sales increased to nearly US$1.7 billion in 2016.

Danone has invested in a number of key African dairy companies over the last five years under Riboud’s chairmanship, including in Kenya (Brookside Dairy) West Africa (Fan Milk) and in South Africa, where it has a stand-alone dairy processing operation.

The company also has strong investments in Northern African countries including Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

“We will continue to create shareholder value by remaining focused on our 2020 objectives and driving strong, sustainable, profitable growth across our categories. The strength of Danone lies in our shared conviction that our business creates value for our shareholders while having a positive impact for all of our stakeholders,” said Emmanuel Faber.

Further, the company has announced enhancements to its Executive Committee in order to promote efficiency in decision-making in the face of fast-moving industry trends,

The company will henceforth consist of three business and two functional leaders under the leadership of the CEO and Chairman.

In this regard, Francisco Camacho will serve as Executive Vice President (EVP), Essential Dairy and Plant- Based (EDP) to lead the worldwide EDP business, including the recently acquired DanoneWave in North America, the maker of plant-based beverages such as Silk.

The EDP business head will focus on providing a unified category approach across all regions and accelerating the global roll out of the company’s new plant-based portfolio, where the company is focusing on, as plant based foods rise in demand in developed markets.

Further, Henri Bruxelles has been appointed to the Executive Committee as EVP, Waters and Africa, marking a substantive posting to focus on Africa’s growth prospects.

The Early Life Nutrition and Advanced Medical Nutrition and Access and Danone Communities roles have been merged under Bridgette Heller, who will serve as EVP while also becoming co-leader of the Protein program, together with Cécile Cabanis, who becomes the EVP, Chief Financial Officer, IS/IT, Cycles & Procurement.

The company has also announced that the current Director at the company, Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of Air Liquide, will succeed Mr. Riboud as Chairman of the Strategic Committee, as part of the transition.

In addition, the Lead Independent Director Jean Laurent, 73, will not stand for re-election on the scheduled expiration of his term in April 2018.

The company says that it’s in the final stages of identifying his successor, where it intends to expand the duties and responsibilities of the Lead Independent Director in order to further reinforce its balanced Board leadership structure.

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