Longtime executive Dirk Poelman retiring from Barry Callebaut

By Kristine Sherred contact

- Last updated on GMT

Barry Callebaut was formed when Cacao Berry merged with Poelman's first employer, Callebaut, in 1996. Pic: Getty Images/Bloomberg
Barry Callebaut was formed when Cacao Berry merged with Poelman's first employer, Callebaut, in 1996. Pic: Getty Images/Bloomberg

Related tags: Barry callebaut, Cacao, Supply chain, Executive officer, Chief operating officer, Retirement

The COO and executive committee member joined the chocolate supplier 35 years ago and will be succeeded by Olivier Delauney.

Poelman started his career at Callebaut in 1984, after completing his degree in industrial engineering. (Callebaut merged with Cacao Berry in 1996.) From there, he moved to several management positions, based in the company’s offices and plants around the world.

In 2009, the executive committee appointed him to manage the global operations and supply chain organization (OSCO).

As Barry Callebaut’s 2019 fiscal year closes on August 31, Poelman will vacate his role as COO but will stay on through the end of the year to aid Delauney’s transition.

“Dirk Poelman has been part of our growth journey like hardly anyone else, contributing to each step of our numerous expansion and acquisition projects and making sure our operations would enable our growth,”​ said CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique.

Saint-Affrique welcomed Delauney – who from 1987 to 1994 worked for the chocolate supplier in four countries – to the COO role. He re-joined the company in 2012 as the VP of operations and the supply chain in Europe, Africa and the Middle East – a growing region for the company.

“[Delauney] has built and grown around him a strong and talented team that lives our company values,”​ added Saint-Affrique. “I am confident that [Delauney] will build on [Poelman’s] legacy and bring our global manufacturing network of over 60 factories to the next level.”

Previous to his return to Barry Callebaut seven years ago, Delauney worked for Danone in the dairy and biscuit divisions. After Mondelēz acquired the latter portfolio of brands, he managed OSCO for Lu in France.

He also holds a PhD in mechanical engineering.

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