The decision by Danone’s board that Faber will relinquish both positions follows recent pressure for governance changes from some shareholders, which have criticised the company’s performance.
Gilles Schnepp has been appointed as chairman of the board, effective immediately.
Meanwhile, the board has decided to appoint Véronique Penchienati-Bosetta, currently Danone’s CEO International, and current CEO North America Shane Grant to lead the business jointly while the search for a new chief executive is underway.
Penchienati-Bosetta and Grant will work together in the respective roles of CEO and deputy CEO.
In recent months, Danone conducted an open dialogue with shareholders, social partners, and stakeholders, resulting in activist fund Bluebell Capital Partners calling for the company’s chairman and CEO roles to be split and for Faber to be replaced. Recently, US investment firm Artisan Partners joined Bluebell in pushing for governance changes and efforts to deliver growth.
“The priority of the board is now to transition towards an improved governance,” said newly appointed Danone chairman, Gilles Schnepp.
“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.”
Schnepp continued: “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 and CEO. His vision and commitment to One Planet. One Health is ahead of the industry and have ensured that Danone is a world leader on sustainability. He leaves Danone with a strong platform from which to accelerate and grow.”