Danone: Antoine de Saint-Affrique appointed CEO

  •   25/05/2021 - 09h18
  •   DEHOUI Lionel

Antoine de Saint-Affrique was the top executive of Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut. The man has been appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer at Danone, succeeding Emmanuel Faber. The latter was ousted in March 2021 against the backdrop of demands from several shareholders of the food company. Here are all the details about this appointment.

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Danone: Antoine de Saint-Affrique appointed CEO

A new CEO alongside a new Chairman

Antoine de Saint-Affrique has been appointed CEO of the Danone group and will take office from mid-September 2021. He will be working alongside Véronique Penchienati-Bosetta and Shane Grant to ensure his new interim responsibility. Let us recall in passing that the businessman was nevertheless the favourite to occupy this post. His name was almost on everyone's lips since his announcement last April.

Indeed, Antoine de Saint-Affrique had announced that he would no longer be the director of Barry Callebaut at the end of August. He was therefore the ideal candidate to take over this position at Danone.

His main mission as CEO/Danone will be to answer to the shareholder funds that disappointed his predecessor.

Note: It should be noted that the general management was coupled with the presidency of the group when Emmanuel Faber was not deposed. But today, the group has separated the two functions and entrusted Gilles Schnepp with the chairmanship of the Board of Directors of the company. The latter has praised the qualities of the new CEO.

 

Main challenges for the new CEO/Danone

The company is in the process of writing its governance history in a different way. This is in line with the transition that began a few weeks ago under the instructions of the Board. The Board members and the entire management team remain convinced of the new CEO's competence in the consumer goods sector. Several challenges await the new CEO.

First of all, he will have to revive margins and sales. The latter had collapsed under the influence of the health crisis. Danone recorded more losses than all its main competitors. On the other hand, his actions will have to remain in line with the "Local First" strategic reorganization plan introduced by his predecessor Emmanuel Faber.

The aim of this plan is to ensure a restructuring of the company around regional divisions. It will also ensure cost reduction.

 

Other challenges

The restructuring project within the Danone group envisages a reduction of more than 2,000 jobs. However, it has the unquestionable support of Danone's Board of Directors. But the new CEO will certainly not have his hands tied regarding the content of this project and can obviously count on the support of the new Chairman/Danone.

On the other hand, Antoine de Saint-Affrique will have to honour the group's social and environmental commitments. For the company has become the first to adopt the status of mission company on French territory and under the leadership of the former CEO.

In addition, Danone's new CEO is credited with ensuring the geographic expansion of Barry Callebaut's business. He has also focused the group's attention on sustainability and innovation. He is therefore expected by the shareholders and directors to repeat such hope.