Barry Callebaut confirms CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique to step down this summer

Barry Callebaut has confirmed CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique is to step down after six years in post, with Peter Boone being appointed in his place from this September, writes Neill Barston.

The announcement was made amid the company’s half-year results, which revealed continued challenging market conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic – with sales volumes down 2.9% and revenues flat at CHF 3.49 billion for the period.

However, net profits of CHF 205.7 million were up 1% year-on-year, as the business reported a pattern of continued improvement in recent months, as markets continue to adapt to the ongoing covid situation.

Next week, the business is set to stage its Treat Tomorrow industry event (from April 28) that is seeking to shape the future of new product development within confectionery – see our exclusive video interview with the company here.

“Over the first six months of the fiscal year we have seen continued volume recovery and solid profitability in a still challenging market environment. The disciplined execution of our ‘smart growth’ strategy, in combination with continuous capability building and the successful sharpening of our business model, are the basis for our improving performance, explained Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of the Barry Callebaut Group, pictured left, below, at 2020’s ISM event in Cologne, Germany.

“Whilst the environment remains volatile, our continued focus on customers, our drive for new opportunities and our strong innovation pipeline, together with a sound balance sheet, make us confident that we are coming out of the crisis stronger and to deliver on our mid-term guidance.

New CEO appointment

This September, de Saint-Affrique will hand over his post to Peter Boone (below), a Dutch national, born in 1970, who has been president Americas of Barry Callebaut since September 1, 2017, and a member of the Executive Committee since 2012.

As the company explained, under his leadership, the region achieved solid growth and expanded its portfolio. Furthermore, in line with the Group’s ‘smart growth’ strategy, he strategically built the company’s Specialties & Decorations business in North America through the acquisition of the ingredients division of Gertrude Hawk Chocolates.

Peter Boone joined Barry Callebaut as Chief Innovation Officer in 2012. He assumed additional responsibility for Quality Assurance as of June 2013 and for Sustainability as of November 2015.

Before joining the business, he worked with Unilever in a variety of global and regional roles, his final role being Chief Marketing Officer Australia and New Zealand. Peter Boone studied Business Administration at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Patrick De Maeseneire, Chairman of the Board of Barry Callebaut, confirmed his appointment. He said: “Peter’s great track record in driving profitable growth, championing groundbreaking innovation, whilst implementing a solid quality culture, building new markets and segments, and, last but not least, his passion for sustainability, make him the perfect candidate to become the Group’s new CEO.

“As Barry Callebaut’s current President Americas and former Chief Innovation Officer, Peter’s appointment will ensure continuity and a smooth handover. The Board is very excited that Peter’s strategic talent and people skills can hit the ground running as the new fiscal year kicks off September 1, 2021.

In addition, the board of directors has appointed Steve Woolley as President Americas, and as member of the Executive Committee, effective September 1, 2021. Steve Woolley, currently Vice President & General Manager Global Accounts North America for Barry Callebaut, is succeeding Peter Boone, who was appointed Group CEO as of September 1, 2021.

Steve Woolley (above), who was born in 1968, and is a US national) has been with Barry Callebaut in a variety of sourcing and sales roles since 2006. Before joining Barry Callebaut, he worked at Russell Stover Chocolates, the third largest American chocolate manufacturer. Steve Woolley was appointed Vice President Sourcing for Region Americas in 2012, adding Strategic Initiatives to his responsibilities in 2017.

Jo Thys, above, (born 1972, from Belgium) has been Vice President Cocoa Africa since September 2017, with additional responsibility for Africa, Middle East and Turkey since September 2020, and is currently based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Under his leadership the volume of locally processed cocoa beans was enlarged and the sourcing activities were expanded into Nigeria.

Key developments 

The past six months has proved a particularly notable period for the business, as it opened its first fully segregated dairy-free production facility in Norderstedt, Germany, in February 2021.

The revamped factory supplies dairy-free chocolate to the European market, tapping into the growing consumer demand for plant-based indulgence. In the same month, the group announced a strategic partnership with a subsidiary of Garudafood, one of the largest food and beverage companies in Indonesia. The partnership will make the compound range of the Van Houten Professional brand available to professional users in the foodservice market in Indonesia.

Furthermore, in March 2021, the Group announced the opening of a new chocolate factory in Baramati, India, the world’s second most populous country and one of the fastest growing chocolate confectionery markets.

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