The decision comes after Danone CEO and chairman Emmanuel Faber stepped down from both roles within the space of two weeks, following pressure from shareholders for governance changes.
Upon his appointment, de Saint-Affrique will succeed the joint interim leadership of Véronique Penchienati-Bosetta and Shane Grant.
Antoine de Saint-Affrique joins Danone from global chocolate manufacturer and cocoa processor Barry Callebaut, where he has served as CEO since October 2015.
Prior to Barry Callebaut, he has held a series of senior executive positions at Unilever including president of the company’s food division for four years. De Saint-Affrique also served as executive vice president of Unilever’s skin category, as well as the consumer goods company’s central and eastern Europe region.
Danone will also discuss the appointment of de Saint-Affrique to a member of the board at the next annual shareholders meeting in April 2022.
“As a board we have delivered on our promise to search and find swiftly the best person to lead Danone through the next phase of our evolution,” said Danone chairman, Gilles Schnepp.
“This marks a new chapter of leadership and a continuation of how we, as a board, have been transitioning governance at the company for a few weeks already.
“We unanimously agree that Antoine de Saint-Affrique is a standout leader in the consumer goods world. He has a distinguished track record of innovation and delivery. Importantly, he brings the right blend of strategic vision, international consumer goods experience, and operational execution skills to Danone.”
Antoine de Saint-Affrique said: “I am proud and honoured to join and soon lead a company which has always been an inspiration for me. 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.”