Danone confirms Barry Callebaut’s Antoine de Saint-Affrique as new CEO

The Danone food group has moved to appoint Barry Callebaut’s outgoing CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique to lead its global operations, reports Neill Barston.

As the Paris-headquartered dairy and plant-based specialist business explained, the new postholder will take over from an interim joint leadership of Véronique Penchienati-Bosetta and Shane Grant.

Furthermore, the company’s board proposed Antoine de Saint-Affrique, who remains with the Swiss headquartered chocolate and confectionery producer until this August, as a new member of its team at its next annual shareholders’ meeting in April 2022.

He is set to join the company as CEO in September from Barry Callebaut, where he has served as Chief Executive Officer since October 2015. His previous experience includes senior executive positions at global consumer goods company Unilever, where he notably led the Foods division.

Gilles Schnepp, Danone Chairman, said: “As a Board we have delivered on our promise to search and find swiftly the best person to lead Danone through the next phase of our evolution. This marks a new chapter of leadership and a continuation of how we, as a Board, have been transitioning governance at the company for a few weeks already.

“We unanimously agree that Antoine de Saint-Affrique is a standout leader in the consumer goods world. He has a distinguished track record of innovation and delivery. Importantly, he brings the right blend of strategic vision, international consumer goods experience, and operational execution skills to Danone.

“The Board is confident that Antoine, together with the rest of the leadership team, will deliver sustainable value for shareholders, and all our stakeholders. Antoine’s proven ability to successfully deliver a purpose-led growth strategy in a sustainable way fits well with our Mission and long-term goals.”

Commenting on his move,  Antoine de Saint-Affrique said: “I am proud and honoured to join and soon lead a company which has always been an inspiration for me. I have tremendous admiration for Danone’s rich heritage and pioneering spirit in all fields: its strong and innovative portfolio of brands that have brought health through food to people around the world for so long; the dual social and economic project which has been at the heart of the company’s purpose for decades; and its strong and unique people culture which respects both diversity and inclusivity.

“I believe Danone has significant potential to continue to shape and contribute to how people eat and drink globally, and I am looking forward to, together with all Danoners, the Executive Committee and the Board, writing our next chapter of growth and further progressing Danone’s Mission.“

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