” No comment “, Danone CFO Juergen Esser said, in essence, when asked about the group’s CEO search, during his quarterly business presentation on Wednesday, April 21. And yet, behind the scenes, the selection process has entered its final phase. According to our information, four candidates are in the running in the home stretch to succeed Emmanuel Faber.
1er In March, Danone’s board of directors voted to separate the powers between the chairmanship and general management of the agribusiness flagship. Mr. Faber lost general management. Two weeks later, the board voted for his ouster and appointed Gilles Schnepp, former boss of Legrand, president. Danone then announced that it had appointed a recruitment firm to carry out the search for a “International leader”, under the supervision of Mr. Schnepp and of the governance committee chaired by Jean-Michel Severino.
Since then, headhunters have taken action. After an initial list of a dozen names, the circle of applicants was reduced. It had, in a second time, two women and two men: Nathalie Roos, Hanneke Faber, Antoine de Saint-Affrique and Max Koeune.
General meeting on April 29
Mme Roos, who headed the professional products business at L’Oréal, left the cosmetics group following the appointment of Jean-Paul Agon’s successor. She also spent part of her career in the food industry at Mars.
Mme Faber, for her part, followed a course that took her from the food industry to distribution, including hygiene products and cosmetics. She currently chairs Unilever’s food division. Max Koeune, for his part, is president of the Canadian company McCain, a company he joined after working at Danone, with a financial profile.
Finally, Mr. de Saint-Affrique has been CEO of Barry Callebaut, the world leader in cocoa, since 2015. Previously, he made his career at Unilever to lead the food branch. Mr. de Saint-Affrique announced his departure from Barry Callebaut on Thursday April 22. He will leave the reins on the 1er September to Peter Boone. Is this a sign that Danone’s choice is imminent? The answer should not be long. The agri-food group may want to unveil the name of Mr. Faber’s successor at the general meeting held on April 29.