Danone chairman and chief executive Franck Riboud will leave his Chief Executive role after 18 years at the helm of the world’s largest yogurt maker, which is grappling with a series of setbacks in Asia and in Europe, according to the company.
Emmanuel Faber has been appointed as CEO of Danone, with Riboud remaining as CHairman of the Board. As part of this new governance structure, Bernard Hours’ mandate as co-COO was terminated.
This change reflects Riboud’s desire to concentrate on the “key strategic issues facing Danone in the medium and long term and to lay the groundwork for a smooth succession.”
Using the same rationale, the company’s board of directors voted to set up its own strategy committee, to be headed by the Chairman with the participation of the CEO. To ensure that Danone continues to benefit from Riboud’s insights and in-depth knowledge of its markets, corporate culture and business environment, the board opted to expand the chairman’s duties. The decision leaves the powers of the board of directors and the CEO unchanged, but will enable the chairman and the CEO to work in concertation on major issues in the company’s corporate life, and allows the chairman to represent Danone in his contacts with leading stakeholders.
Riboud on the decision:
“I joined Danone 33 years ago and have managed our day-to-day operaitons for over 18 years. During that time, our company has undergone incredible change and we have achieved the goals we set back in 1996. Today Danone is a truly global company, oriented toward emerging markets, realigned around a select number of promising business in which we are market leaders, and focused on pursuing growth. We have achieved spectacular growth while remaining true to our dual commitment to business success and social progress, and we are still a pacesetter for social innovation. I want to ensure that Danone has everything it needs to lay the groundwork for its future, which is why I recommended separating the functions of chairman and chief executive officer and paving the way for the arrival of a new generation to guide Danone.
“Since 1997, Emmanuel Faber has worked with me on the executive committee and the board, playing a critical role in making and deploying all major decisions concerning Danone. Now 50, he has in-depth knowledge of our company’s structures and operating modes, an understanding of the business and social challenges facing our core businesses, innovative flair, an uncompromising focus on results, and a deep respect for and commitment to Damone’s culture and brands, all of which make him a natural choice to lead our 100,000 employees. He has the full trust of the board of directors, and I am delighted to support him and continue to work closely with him in expanding Danone.”