Danone: Leading Change by Rejigging Purpose?
In March 2021, faced with emphatic calls from a minority group of dissatisfied investors worried about Danone SA's poor financial performance, Danone's board of directors asked Emmanuel Faber, Danone's chair and chief executive officer (CEO), to step down from his leadership position. Danone had a long history of being a purpose-driven company, and Faber's personal values mirrored the company's values. Why did a historically purpose-driven company succumb to the demands of a minority of shareholders? How would Faber's departure affect the general movement toward responsible capitalism? Was his strategy justifiable and should it be continued or rejigged under a new CEO? Tulsi Jayakumar is affiliated with SP Jain Institute of Management & Research. Surya Tahora is affiliated with SP Jain Institute of Management & Research.