Antoine de Saint-Affrique to step down as Barry Callebaut CEO after six years as Group reports first-half net profit drop

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Antoine de Saint-Affrique. Pic: Barry Callebaut Group
Antoine de Saint-Affrique. Pic: Barry Callebaut Group

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Barry Callebaut Group has announced that current CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique will leave the post after six years, and be replaced by Americas chief Peter Boone, effective 1 September.

The Dutch national and former employee of Unilever PLC has led the Americas division since late 2017 where he “achieved solid, profitable, volume growth and expanded its customer portfolio​,” said the Swiss supplier of premium chocolate and cocoa to the industry.

Peter Boone new barry Callebaut CEO 750
Peter Boone will take over as Barry Callebaut CEO in September 2021. Pic: Barry Callebaut

Boone has been a member of Barry Callebaut's Executive Committee since 2012. Under his leadership Region Americas achieved solid, profitable, volume growth and expanded its customer portfolio. Furthermore, in line with the Group’s ‘smart growth’ strategy, Boone strategically built Barry Callebaut’s Specialties & Decorations business in North America through the acquisition of the ingredients division of Gertrude Hawk Chocolates.

Boone joined Barry Callebaut as Chief Innovation Officer in 2012. He assumed additional responsibility for Quality Assurance as of June 2013 and for Sustainability as of November 2015.

Before joining Barry Callebaut, Boone worked with Unilever in a variety of global and regional roles, his final role being Chief Marketing Officer Australia and New Zealand.

"Peter’s great track record in driving profitable growth, championing groundbreaking innovation, whilst implementing a solid quality culture, building new markets and segments, and, last but not least, his passion for sustainability, make him the perfect candidate to become the Group’s new CEO​," said Patrick De Maeseneire, Chairman of the Board of Barry Callebaut.

"As Barry Calleaut’s current President Americas and former Chief Innovation Officer, Peter’s appointment will ensure continuity and a smooth handover. The Board is very excited that Peter’s strategic talent and people skills can hit the ground running as the new fiscal year kicks off September 1, 2021."

During de Saint-Affrique’s six-year tenure as CEO the Group’s share price more than doubled with sales rising by 17% and a healthy profit of more than two-thirds before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.

"It will be an emotional moment when I step down at the end of the [fiscal] year from a company that I have served with passion​," de Saint-Affrique said this morning on the webcast media and analyst conference to announce the Group's half year results.

"... it is the right thing to do at right time and I am delighted the board was able to pick, after a thorough process, a successor from within Barry Callebaut for the first time in its history."

The company has navigated the crisis well and will be ready for its next chapter, he said.

de Saint-Affrique said he intends to remain with BC, and will be proposed as a board member at its next AGM.

"Antoine is passing the baton to Peter after six years of passionate leadership, which is once more illustrated by the careful succession planning​," De Maeseneire said.

"Together with the Executive Team, Antoine’s ‘smart growth’ execution of the Group’s long term strategy successfully expanded Barry Callebaut’s global footprint across five continents.

"Under his leadership the Group strengthened its balance sheet and profitability through the rebalancing of the portfolio towards faster growing geographies and a broader range of high quality cocoa and chocolate ingredients.

"Furthermore, Antoine made Barry Callebaut the industry leader for sustainable cocoa and chocolate through the launch of Forever Chocolate, the Group’s acclaimed plan to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025."

In its latest half-year results 2020-21​ the Group reported a first-half net profit drop in line with sales volume decline of  2.9% in the six months through February, with a 1.3% decline in the second quarter representing a recovery of sorts from the 4.3% decline of the first quarter.

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