In a statement, Divine Chocolate revealed Tranchell left in May after making the decision to leave last November.
Tranchell said: “I am immensely proud of Divine, what it stands for and what it has achieved. With a great team, and investors who had the vision and patience to support us, we set out to make a real difference in the chocolate industry – a real transition towards more equitable trade that could never again be un-done. I believe Divine has led and catalysed such a change.
“Working closely with farmers has been an absolute privilege – their lives have enriched mine and hopefully, via the farmers’ stories we have told, other lives have been enriched too. It has been especially rewarding to see the positive impact achieved for women as they are able to step up and take their rightful place in the chocolate story."
Sophie Tranchell interview
Listen to our interview with Tranchell from January 2020: The Divine difference: Interview with Sophi Tranchell, CEO, on her 20 years at the Fairtrade chocolate brand
Tranchell's leadership of Divine has pushed the Fairtrade brand as a force for good, and of women achieving equality, particularly farmers in the chocolate supply chain.
“She has demonstrated time and time again that things no-one thought possible can be done – starting with creating a chocolate company that turned ‘business-as-usual’ on its head by making farmers the biggest shareholders,” said a spokesperson for Divine.
While there has been no comment from Divine on Tranchell’s successor, in a separate statement, the company has announced Ludwig Weinrich GmbH & Co. KG (Weinrich) has acquired the majority of the shares in the company.
The German company has manufactured Divine’s chocolate since it was established in 1998 and Kuapa Kokoo, the farmers’ co-operative in Ghana, that was a founding shareholder, will still own 20% of the shares and continue to have board representation.
“This means that the Divine brand and the unique business model with farmers at the heart will continue to deliver seriously good chocolate that empowers both producers and consumers,” the spokesperson said.