The Board of Directors has appointed Peter Boone as new CEO of the Barry Callebaut Group, effective Sept. 1, 2021.

Boone succeeds Antoine de Saint-Affrique, who, after serving as CEO since October 1, 2015, will step down at the end of the group’s fiscal year. Barry Callebaut said de Saint-Affrique will be proposed for election to the Board of Directors at the next Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Reuters reported that Bernstein’s Bruno Monteyne and Kepler Cheuvreux’s Jon Cox said de Saint-Affrique has been short-listed for the Danone CEO job.

The succession plan was announced as part of the company’s half-year fiscal results meeting.

During the meeting, the company also announced:

  • Sales volume down –2.9%, continued recovery in second quarter (–1.3%)
  • Sales revenue of CHF 3.5 billion, flat at 0.0% in local currencies (–7.5% in CHF) 
  • Operating profit (EBIT) of CHF 296.7 million, up +3.8%1 in local currencies (–4.7%1 in CHF)
  • Net profit of CHF 205.7 million, up +6.9%1 in local currencies (–2.8%1 in CHF) 

Boone, a Dutch national who was born in 1970, has been president Americas of Barry Callebaut since Sept. 1, 2017, and a member of the executive committee since 2012.

Barry Callebaut says that under Boone’s leadership, the Americas Region 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 for 16 years for Unilever. His last role with Unilever was as chief marketing officer responsible for the marketing of all brands in all categories in Australia and New Zealand. He was a member of the regional Executive Board.

Boone started his career at the Information Services division of ITT Corp., where he worked in a strategic marketing role. In 1996, he joined Unilever as a strategy analyst at the head office in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Boone also held other positions at Unilever, such as global v.p. brand development at the Unilever Headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands; and v.p. marketing & sales Latin America Foods Solution based in São Paulo, Brazil. Boone studied business administration at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

“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 Sept. 1, 2021.”

De Maeseneire said the transition had been coordinated as part of careful succession planning. He also praised de Saint-Affrique’s passionate leadership.

“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,” De Maeseneire said. “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. Overall, Antoine sharpened the group’s business model, which allowed Barry Callebaut to successfully weather the unprecedented market conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, placing the group in pole position for continued growth.”

Barry Callebaut announces additional leadership changes

Boone will be succeeded as President Americas by Steve Woolley, currently vice president and general manager global accounts North America for Barry Callebaut.

Woolley, who was born in 1968 and is a U.S. national, has been with Barry Callebaut in a variety of sourcing and sales roles since 2006.

Before joining Barry Callebaut, he worked at Russell Stover Chocolates. Woolley was appointed vice president sourcing for Region Americas in 2012, adding strategic initiatives to his responsibilities in 2017.

In this role, he developed the e-commerce strategy as well as other strategic growth and value adding initiatives for the Region. Woolley was subsequently appointed vice president and general manager global accounts in 2018, in which role he is responsible for the partnerships with the group’s largest corporate customers in North America. Woolley holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from University Missouri, Kansas City, US.

The company also announced that effective July 1, 2021, the Board of Directors has appointed Jo Thys as President Asia Pacific, and as member of the executive committee.

Thys, currently serving as the group’s v.p. Africa, Middle East and Turkey, is replacing Ben De Schryver, who became Barry Callebaut’s CFO, Jan. 1, 2021.

Thys, who was born in 1972 and is Belgian national, has been vice president Cocoa Africa since September 2017, with additional responsibility for Africa, Middle East and Turkey since September 2020.

Thys is currently based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Under his leadership the volume of locally processed cocoa beans was enlarged and the sourcing activities were expanded into Nigeria. In addition, Thys embedded sustainability into the core of the local business strategy, with a particular focus on the implementation of the Group’s sustainability projects with cocoa farmers in West Africa.

Thys started as a graduate trainee with the group in 1997 and held several positions in operations in Region EMEA before moving to the U.S. in 2006 as v.p. operations and supply chain for Region Americas. He moved back to Europe in 2010, where in his role as v.p. operations and supply chain Global Cocoa, he supported the integration of Delfi, the Cocoa Ingredients Division from Singapore-based Petra Foods, into the group in 2013.

Thys holds an electromechanical engineering degree from Group T University College of Leuven, Belgium.