New chairman, new chief executive officer and soon new directors: Danone announced on Thursday that most of the board members will leave their posts by 2023, with the aim of showing a new face after the severe governance crisis that has shaken the flagship French food industry.
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overhaul of the composition of the board
" was "
proposed by all the directors to serve Danone's performance and mission for the years to come
", the group said in a press release, alongside the presentation of the half-year results. .
The renewal will take place in several phases "
by the general assembly of spring 2023
" and will concern all the directors, with the exception of the new chairman Gilles Schnepp and the two directors representing the employees, it is indicated. Antoine de Saint-Affrique, who is due to take up his duties as Managing Director on September 15, will be applying for a director position “
from the next general meeting
”. Eight suitors for the council will therefore have to be found, the objective being to compose a council of twelve members. Gilles Schnepp since March, and Antoine de Saint-Affrique soon, arrive at the helm at the end of a “
painful governance crisis
”, in the words of Gilles Schnepp, at the end of April.
Former CEO Emmanuel Faber was ousted in mid-March after a sling of shareholders combined with internal divisions.
He had in particular been disowned by his predecessor, Franck Riboud.
The latter is one of the outgoing directors.
His departure from the board will be effective at the general meeting in April 2022. He will, however, remain Honorary Chairman of Danone.
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Franck Riboud became Chairman and CEO in 1996, taking over from his father Antoine, the founder of this group, the parent company of Activia yogurts, Blédina baby jars and Evian water. From 2014, he had entrusted general management to Emmanuel Faber, who was in turn propelled to CEO in 2017. “
I am happy that a new cycle is opening for the group and the board. My only concern is to serve Danone as well as possible and to strongly support Antoine de Saint-Affrique in his task to put the company back into a dynamic of growth
”, affirms Mr. Riboud, quoted in the press release.
The evolution of the board will, I am sure, facilitate the implementation of his project,
" he adds. Former Danone Chief Financial Officer Cécile Cabanis will also be leaving the board of which she had recently been appointed vice-president. His departure had been demanded by funds hostile to Emmanuel Faber. For its future directors, Danone intends to integrate "
new talents with strong international experience and sector expertise while ensuring the diversity and level of independence of the board,
" said Mr. Schnepp in the press release. In front of French deputies, Emmanuel Faber estimated in June that the board of directors had "
" with activist funds and was "
not able today to ensure the defense and sovereignty of Danone
In terms of results, the second quarter of 2021 marks the start of a recovery for the group, with turnover up 3.6% to nearly 6.2 billion euros, above the expectations of analysts surveyed by Factset and Bloomberg.
Net profit rose 5.2% to 1.07 billion euros.
However, the current operating margin, an indicator scrutinized by the markets, contracted to 13.1%, against 14% a year earlier and 15.2% in 2019, before the pandemic.
Danone explains this decline in particular by “
the negative impact of inflation in raw material costs
The group maintains its objectives for the entire year, with a current operating margin in line with 2020 Just after the opening of the Paris Stock Exchange, Danone shares climbed 5.14% to 60.11 euros.