Dirk Poelman, chief operations officer for Barry Callebaut Group, is set to retire this year, concluding a 35-year career with the chocolate and cocoa products manufacturer.

After completing his studies as an industrial engineer in 1984, Poelman began as engineering manager with Callebaut, which later merged with Cacao Barry. Over the course of his career, Poelman worked in various managerial positions and countries before he was appointed to the Executive Committee in 2009, responsible for the group’s global Operations & Supply Chain Organization (OSCO).  

Barry Callebaut’s Board of Directors has named Olivier Delaunay, currently v.p. OSCO for Europe, Middle East and Africa, as Poelman’s successor. He begins Sept. 1, the start of the company’s next fiscal year. Poelman will ensure a smooth transition to Delaunay by staying on board until the end of 2019.  

Barry Callebaut CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique thanked Poelman for his service.

“Dirk Poelman has been part of our growth journey like hardly anyone else, contributing to each step of our numerous expansion and acquisition projects and making sure our operations would enable our growth,” he said.

The CEO also welcomed Delaunay to the company’s Executive Committee and highlighted his service to Barry Callebaut.

Over the last seven years, he has headed the deep transformation of our OSCO footprint and capabilities in the region, playing a key role in enabling current and future growth in EMEA,” de Saint-Affrique said. “Importantly, he has built and grown around him a strong and talented team that lives our company values. I am confident that Olivier will build on Dirk’s legacy and bring our global manufacturing network of over 60 factories to the next level.”  

Delaunay has served in his current role since 2012. From 1987 to 1994, he worked for the Barry Callebaut Group in Cameroon, France, the Netherlands and the United States. From 1994 to 2008 he served Danone, the leading French food and beverage company, in different functions and countries.

Delaunay holds a doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from ICAM in Lille, France.