Following the announcement in early March by current CEO and chairman Emmanuel Faber that the company would be splitting the CEO and chairman roles into two distinct positions, the board has now announced Faber has stepped down from both positions.
As a consequence, it has appointed Gilles Schnepp as chairman of the board with immediate effect.
In February, investors Artisan Global Value Strategy and Artisan International Value Strategy went public with a letter to Schnepp, who was then the lead independent board member elect at Danone, calling for changes to the governance.
Faber will also no longer continue as interim CEO, in spite of the search for a new CEO being under way. Danone’s board has appointed Véronique Penchienati-Bosetta, currently CEO International, and Shane Grant, currently CEO North America, to jointly lead the business while the search for a new CEO continues.
Danone said Schnepp and the governance committee will oversee the search to ensure a “world leading CEO” is found.
The board said it believes in the necessity of combining high economic performance and the respect of Danone’s unique model of a purpose-driven company.
Schnepp said, “I am honored to be appointed as chairman of the board of Danone at this important time for the company. I have tremendous regard for Danone’s history and its contribution to society through its world-leading healthy food and beverages, and commitment to sustainability. The priority of the board is now to transition towards an improved governance. This means accelerating the process to recruit a new CEO, while Véronique and Shane continue to lead the business during this period. I look forward to working with the board to support them in their interim roles, and the wider management team as they accelerate our efforts to create value for all our stakeholders.”