Danone sends CEO Faber for a walk

The once all-powerful ‘pdg’ of the French yogurt giant is paying the price for a stock price that has been ailing for years.

High voltage last night in the Boulevard Haussmann. At Danone’s Paris headquarters

Emmanuel Faber was told that he also had to stop as chairman, writes the daily newspaper Le Figaro.

Immediately a brutal end to what was, until recently, some of the most powerful President-General (PDG) in French business. The 57-year-old had to hand in the CEO position for two weeks, but seemed to be allowed to keep the chair as a consolation prize.

Not so: Faber is paying the price for the increasing grumbling among shareholder activists. They were increasingly critical of the less than inspiring results of the multinational, which, in addition to being the world market leader in yogurt, is also an important producer of mineral water (Evian, Volvic) and baby food (Nutricia).

Over the past five years, the stock market price has gone nowhere on balance due to the slow growth, while rivals such as Unilever and Nestlé – where CEO Ulf Mark Schneider radically streamlined the Swiss giant – did offer investors a solid return (see graph).

The poor performance coincided with Faber’s ‘reign’. The Frenchman has been CEO since 2014, a role he has combined with the chairmanship since the end of 2017.

The job to find a new CEO now goes to the new chairman, Gilles Schnepp. Schnepp is 62 years old and mainly made a name for himself as the successful CEO of Legrand, the world market leader in electrical switches.

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