The Board of Directors at Danone, the French multinational food-products company behind Evian water, Activia yoghurt and Alpro soy milk, confirmed that Emmanuel Faber will step down as CEO and chairman. Gilles Schnepp, a Director who joined last year, is appointed as non-executive chairman, effective immediately.
Activist investors have been pressuring Faber to resign after the underperformance of the consumer goods company since the start of the pandemic.
Faber started his career at management consultancy firm Bain & Company, then worked as an investment banker at Baring Brothers before becoming the CEO of Legris Industries in 1996. He joined Danone in 1997 and has held multiple leadership positions within the company. Faber was a fervent advocate for responsible capitalism and his departure will likely put a pause to Danone’s transformation in becoming a more purpose-driven company.
“The Board and I want to thank Emmanuel for his leadership and significant contributions to Danone since 1997, and since 2014 as CEO and then Chairman & CEO,” Schnepp said in a press release. “His vision and commitment to One Planet. One Health are ahead of the industry and have ensured that Danone is a world leader on sustainability.”
Schnepp who will be leading the search for a new CEO for the company started his career in 1983 at investment management firm Merrill Lynch. In 1989 he joined Legrand and held various positions before being named COO in 2000. Most recently he served as Chairman and Board member of Legrand.
“I am honoured to be appointed as Chairman of the Board of Danone at this important time for the company,” Schnepp said in a press release. “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.”
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