Franck Riboud will resign as Danone's CEO on 1 October and hand the French food giant's operational reigns to Emmanuel Faber. Riboud will focus on the company's long term strategy as chairman of the board.
Riboud made Danone a worldwide group
Riboud (58) has led Danone for 18 years after succeeding his father Antoine in 1996. He built on the foundations of the former BSN to create a worldwide group with a 21 billion euro turnover in more than 140 countries and with more than 900 million customers.
Riboud did the same thing as Coca-Cola and focused on marketing and innovations in 4 particular branches: water (Evian), fresh dairy products (Danone), baby food (Nutricia, Milupa, ...) and clinical food (Numico). Brands that did not fit this particular strategy were sold, like Lu (cookie manufacturer) in 2007.
The CEO will now focus on the group's presidency and will also take charge of a strategic committee which will discuss the future of clinical food and which acquisitions have to be made in the fields of baby food and bottled water.
Faber has to make Danone bigger again
The day-to-day operations will now be handled by Emmanuel Faber (50), who is currently Riboud's assistant. Bernard Hourd, who held the same position, will leave the company.
Both Riboud and Faber have been with the company for a long time: he started out in 1997 as the one who was responsible for mergers after acquisitions, then became responsible for the financial department and then took charge of the Asian activities. Finally, he returned to become deputy CEO.
Faber is expected to help Danone grow again as the company has been struggling for the past three years: the eurozone crisis, setbacks in China and problems in Russia, the company's largest market, have slowed down expansion.