EMMANUEL FABER utilized to be seen as the spiritual son of Franck Riboud, honorary chairman and previous employer of Danone, whose dad Antoine co-founded the French yogurt-maker. Mr Riboud handpicked Mr Faber as his follower and loyally backed his change of Danone into France’s first entreprise à mission, a business type with a defined social purpose.
According to the French press, Mr Riboud believes Mr Faber is more interested in conserving the planet than conserving his company. Danone’s share price fell by 27%in 2020 while those of rivals such as Nestlé and Unilever made gains amid pandemic larder-stocking.
Danone has been hit harder by covid-19 than rivals because of its big bottled-water service. In 2017 Danone overpaid for WhiteWave, an American maker of health-focused fare that it bought for $125 bn. The deal, which strained the balance-sheet however did not produce hoped-for returns, is the primary factor for Danone’s current despair, states Alan Erskine of Credit Suisse, a bank.