Barry Callebaut CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique has been named the new CEO of Danone, effective Sept. 15.

He succeeds the joint interim leadership of Véronique Penchienati-Bosetta and Shane Grant. Danone said de Saint-Affrique’s appointment followed a rigorous selection process led by the company’s Governance Committee. In April 2022, de Saint-Affrique will join Danone’s board.

Gilles Schnepp, chairman of Danone’s board, called de Saint-Affrique “a standout leader in the consumer goods world,” pointing to his track record of innovation.

“He brings the right blend of strategic vision, international consumer goods experience, and operational execution skills to Danone,” Schnepp said .”The Board is confident that Antoine, together with the rest of the leadership team, will deliver sustainable value for shareholders, and all our stakeholders. Antoine’s proven ability to successfully deliver a purpose-led growth strategy in a sustainable way fits well with our Mission and long-term goals. He will have all the room and resources a CEO can have to best assess and direct Danone’s strategy for the future.”

Barry Callebaut announced in April that Peter Boone, president Americas, would succeed de Saint-Affrique as CEO, who will step down Sept. 1. Reuters reported that de Saint-Affrique had been shortlisted for Danone’s CEO job.

“I am proud and honored to join and soon lead a company which has always been an inspiration for me,” de Saint-Affrique said. I have tremendous admiration for Danone’s rich heritage and pioneering spirit in all fields... I believe Danone has significant potential to continue to shape and contribute to how people eat and drink globally, and I am looking forward to, together with all Danoners, the Executive Committee and the Board, writing our next chapter of growth and further progressing Danone’s Mission.“

Appointed Oct. 1, 2015, de Saint-Affrique will have served as Barry Callebaut’s CEO for nearly six years. From September 2011 to September 2015, he served as president of Unilever Foods and as a member of Unilever’s Group Executive Committee, where he was accountable for businesses with a combined turnover of €12.4 billion.

He also served other roles at Unilever. de Saint-Affrique was executive v.p.  of Unilever’s skin category – an area of the business that includes brands such as Dove, Lux, Lifebuoy and Pond’s. From 2005 to 2009, de Saint-Affrique was executive v.p. for Unilever’s Central and Eastern Europe region – an area covering 21 countries. 

Before rejoining Unilever in 2000, de Saint-Affrique was marketing v.p. and a partner at Amora Maille, a foods company which was acquired under a leveraged buyout from the Danone Group.

He has lived in Africa, the U.S., Hungary, the Netherlands, Russia, and the United Kingdom. He served as a reserve naval officer between 1987 and 1988. He is a member of the board of directors of the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce and a non-Executive
Director at Burberry PLC, a FTSE 100 company. 

De Saint-Affrique has a degree in business administration from ESSEC Business School and a qualification in executive education from Harvard Business School. Since 2004, he has led the marketing course at Mines ParisTech (Corps des Mines).