On March 1, 2021, Danone's board of directors reviewed the company’s corporate governance and decided, on a proposal from Emmanuel Faber, to separate the functions of chairman and CEO in the near future. The separation will be effective upon the appointment of a new CEO.
The process to recruit a new CEO has been launched and once complete, Emmanuel Faber will focus on his role as non-executive chairman. In the meantime, Faber will continue as chairman and CEO, with the full confidence and unanimous support of the board to exercise full operational responsibility for the company, and to lead the implementation of the adaptation plan Local First.
In the context of this plan and upon reflecting on the governance best suited to this new milestone for the company, Danone's management and board of directors have conducted an open dialogue in recent months with shareholders, social partners, and other internal and external stakeholders. At the same time, and in addition to the announcement of December 14, the board of directors has made other changes to continue strengthening Danone’s governance.
The board decided to appoint Gilles Schnepp as vice-chairman, together with Cécile Cabanis, and to entrust with immediate effect the responsibilities of lead independent director and chairman of the governance committee to Jean-Michel Severino. “It is an honor to become the next lead independent director of Danone,” said Severino. “I have served the company and its mission as board director for the last 10 years as member of the CSR committee and then chair of the audit committee. I thank the board for entrusting me with this role, which will be of critical importance in the transition phase we are entering. I also look forward to being in charge of continuing a fruitful dialogue with our shareholders.”
“I am pleased we took the governance arrangements that will allow us to anticipate the next phase of development of the truly unique company Danone is, as we open, with our Local First plan, a new step towards the company’s reinvention,” said Faber. “I want to thank all our shareholders, my colleagues of the board, our employees, and social partners who contributed to making these decisions emerge. I am convinced they will make the execution of our plan and our mission much stronger.”
Danone is a leading multi-local food and beverage company building on health-focused and fast-growing categories in three businesses: essential dairy & plant-based products, waters, and specialized nutrition. With more than 100,000 employees, and products sold in over 120 markets, Danone generated €23.6 billion in sales in 2020. Danone’s portfolio includes leading international brands (Actimel, Activia, Alpro, Aptamil, Danette, Danio, Danonino, evian, Nutricia, Nutrilon, Volvic, among others) as well as strong local and regional brands (including AQUA, Blédina, Bonafont, Cow & Gate, Horizon Organic, Mizone, Oikos, Prostokvashino, Silk, Vega).