PARIS — On Jan. 6, Danone announced the completion of its leadership team with three appointments at the Executive Committee level: a Chief Operations Officer; a Chief Research, Innovation, Quality and Food Safety Officer; and a Chief Sustainability and Strategic Business Development Officer. Three globally-recognized professionals – two from outside Danone and one internal – complete the leadership team and represent an important step in strengthening Danone’s execution and innovation, over the short and long-term.
The Chief Operations Officer, in charge of Cycles & Procurement, Manufacturing and Supply Chain, will further strengthen the performance of Danone’s operations. Vikram Agarwal joins Danone in this role, starting from January 2022, after a 33-year international career leading Procurement, Manufacturing and Supply chain functions in consumer goods. He will also be appointed End-to-end Design To Delivery coordinator.
The Chief Research, Innovation, Quality and Food Safety Officer will manage Danone’s science, innovation, quality and product superiority agenda across categories. Isabelle Esser will join the Company in this role, starting from April 2022, bringing more than 25 years of experience in leading Research & Development functions in consumer goods.
Finally, the Chief Sustainability and Strategic Business Development Officer will bring sustainability back to the heart of Danone’s business delivery and performance. He will also be in charge of identifying, assessing, and exploring new and sustainable growth opportunities, from geographic, category, and business model perspectives. This function will be led by Henri Bruxelles, currently Chief Operating Officer End-to-end Design To Delivery, starting from January 2022.
Antoine de Saint-Affrique, Chief Executive Officer, said:
“The completion of the Danone’s Executive Committee team, in particular with the addition of two new senior executives recognized for their expertise, is an important step in bringing Danone back to what made it a unique company: a passion for brands and innovation and excellence in execution, all combined with a pioneering spirit in terms of sustainability. I am proud to lead such a team, characterized by its determination, passion and discipline.”
Vikram Agarwal brings over 33 years of international experience with global consumer goods companies. In a distinguished career spanning 30 years with Unilever, he led transformational local, regional and global roles, the most recent being Executive Vice President of the Africa Supply Chain. He was subsequently Chief Supply Chain Officer at Avon Products, playing an instrumental role in its successful turnaround. Until now he was leading business strategy for Dole Food & Beverages. Additionally, he associated closely with leading PE Funds on M&A projects. Vikram passionately believes that supply chains can play a pivotal role in generating business competitiveness to create value and drive growth. Besides being well-versed with most disciplines within the supply chain, he has a keen understanding of digitalization of Integrated Business Planning in large global supply chains and is an avid advocate of sustainability in operations. Born in India and now a UK resident, he is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from IIT in India, with a Certificate in Global Management from INSEAD.
Isabelle Esser has 30 years of experience in consumer goods & B2B international companies in local, regional and global roles. Most recently, she was the Chief Human Resources Officer of Barry Callebaut, after a career of over 25 years in Research and Development at Unilever, where she last held the position of Executive Vice President R&D Foods Transformation in the Global Foods & Refreshment Division. Isabelle Esser started her career as a scientist at Unilever Research & Development Port Sunlight Laboratory, UK, after which she served in various positions within Research & Development across the globe within the Foods as well as the Home & Personal Care business divisions. Throughout her career, Isabelle promoted and drove transformational changes through people, built capabilities enabling sustainable innovation from insights generated through consumer data and digital. She is passionate about sustainable nutrition, product innovation & solution and quality in brands. Engaged in the Diversity & Inclusion agenda for more than 20 years, she drove D&I in all her roles as a source of innovation. Isabelle holds a degree as ‘Ingénieur Civil en Sciences des Matériaux, Orientation Physique’ from Louvain-La-Neuve University in Belgium and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Birmingham in the UK.
Henri Bruxelles started his career at Danone in 1987 where he held several assignments in Marketing in Germany, France, Spain and Brazil. In 2002, he became VP Marketing of Danone France, before becoming the VP Marketing of the Dairy division in 2004, and Danone’s Chief Marketing Officer in 2008. In 2010, he was appointed General Manager of Danone Portugal and, in 2013, General Manager of Danone Argentina. In 2015, he became Regional Vice President Waters Latam. He joined the Executive Committee in October 2017 as EVP Waters & Africa. Since November 2020, he has been serving as Chief Operating Officer End-to-End Design to Delivery.