The Bel Group separates Chair and CEO roles: Cécile Béliot is appointed Chief Executive Officer
One year after Antoine Fiévet, Chairman and CEO of the Bel Group, announced his intention to to separate Chair and CEO positions at the head of the company, the Board of Directors, meeting on May 12, appointed Cécile Béliot, Chief Executive Officer of the Group, and renewed Antoine Fiévet’s mandate as Chairman of the Board. This new governance serves the Group’s ambition to become the reference in healthy snacking, based on a portfolio of strong and popular brands.
Initiated by Antoine Fiévet since his first years at the head of the Bel Group, and pursued as a major joint project of the duo with Cécile Béliot, the Group’s transformation towards a sustainable and responsible performance model has been particularly intensified over the past four years. The effective implementation of the dissociated governance has opened a new phase in the deployment of the Bel Group’s strategy to develop in three complementary areas of healthy snacking – dairy, fruit and vegetable.
Since May 12, 2022, the functions of Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Bel Group have been separated in order to combine the ability to transform in the short term with sustainable performance in the long term, in an increasingly unpredictable and complex world. This change, supported by the controlling families (Fiévet and Sauvin) and implemented by the Board, reinforces the Bel Group’s model, which aims to sustain its value creation by combining profitability and responsibility through positive, innovative and committed brands.
In her new role as Chief Executive Officer, Cécile Béliot will be responsible for the deployment of the Group’s vision and the management of its strategy and performance. In this capacity, she will continue, with the Executive Committee, the transformation of the Group and the activation of its new levers for sustainable growth, including the acceleration of innovation, the strengthening of the Group’s international positions (USA, China) and the continued development of the plant-based offer, as a complement to the Group’s fruit and dairy offer. Antoine Fiévet, Chairman of the Board, will work with the Board to define the Group’s strategic vision and long-term ambitions, while remaining the guarantor of the family business’ values.
Antoine Fiévet, Chairman of the Bel Group, said: “These four years of close and effective collaboration with Cécile Béliot have fostered a real relationship of trust. In a world that is becoming increasingly complex, I am deeply convinced that the continuation of our project requires the establishment of a complementary duo at the head of the company. The Bel Group, with its portfolio of iconic and popular brands, which was recently expanded with the completion of the acquisition of MOM (Pom’Potes®/GoGo squeeZ®, Materne®, Mont-Blanc®…) has many assets to establish itself as the leader in healthy snacking. Cécile is the leader that the Group needs to deploy its strategy, innovate and accelerate the sustainable growth project that we are developing for Bel, with all our partners.”
Cécile Béliot, CEO of the Bel Group, said: “Antoine Fiévet’s vision is clear: a company is sustainable when it demonstrates its usefulness and positive impact on its ecosystem. We share this vision and the commitments it entails. It is an honour and a responsibility to succeed him as CEO to continue to fuel the sustainable growth of the Group. The confidence that Antoine Fiévet and the Board of Directors have placed in me commits me to continuing our business model of performance and value creation for all. With our 11,800 employees, we will continue to deploy our ambition of leadership in healthy snacking.”
Florian Sauvin, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Unibel, said: “Governance is a strategic issue for companies. Separating Chair and CEO positions will enable us to strengthen the project we are carrying out, by putting the most appropriate governance system at its service. I am delighted with this step, which will enable us to continue to nurture the long-term vision that has been at the heart of our family model for 150 years, and to pursue, thanks to Cécile Béliot’s leadership and capacity for innovation, our transformation to become the leader in healthy snacking.”
Cécile Béliot, 47, is the first woman to head the Bel Group and the second to head the company outside the shareholder family. With her background and international experience, including 17 years with the Danone Group, she is the embodiment of a generation of leaders committed to inventing the future of the food industry. Cécile Béliot joined the Bel Group in 2019 as Deputy Managing Director in charge of Strategy, Markets and Growth. In this role, she has defined the pillars of the Group’s strategy for a sustainable growth model that fully integrates its financial and extra-financial challenges in line with the ambitions built by Antoine Fiévet for the Group. Over the last four years, Cécile Béliot has contributed to the development of new product territories by accelerating innovation and the shift to plant-based products, strengthening the international presence (USA, China) and developing new distribution channels (e-commerce, out-of-home).
Antoine Fiévet, 58, Chairman of the Bel Group, is the 5th family manager in the history of the Group. At the head of the Group, he has strengthened the independence of the family shareholding and pursued its development with strong turnover growth during his tenure, while placing responsibility at the heart of the business model. Antoine Fiévet was behind the strategic shift to diversify the Group’s product offering to become a major player in healthy snacking with a presence in three complementary areas: milk, fruit and vegetables. His vision for the Group is to generate a positive impact on its entire ecosystem and beyond, to contribute to the development of a new value model for food throughout the world. This vision is reflected in strong commitments to reduce the environmental impact of the Group’s activities: the +1.5°C carbon trajectory announced in early 2022 is an indication of the ambitions of his mandate as Chairman. Antoine Fiévet has also been Chairman of the Bel Foundation since its creation in 2008. He was elected Chairman of the Board of Citeo in 2021.