Barry Callebaut CEO stepping down in October


Dive Brief:

  • Peter Boone will be the new CEO of chocolate ingredients provider Barry Callebaut effective Sept. 1, the company announced. Boone will replace Antoine de Saint-Affrique, who has led the company since 2015 and will be nominated for election to the company’s board when he steps down.
  • Boone has led the Americas region of Barry Callebaut since 2017. Under his tenure, the division has grown in volumes and profits. He built Barry Callebaut’s North American Specialties & Decorations businesss through the 2017 acquisition of the ingredients division of Gertrude Hawk Chocolates. Boone first joined Barry Callebaut in 2012 as chief innovation officer, and had previously worked at Unilever.
  • Barry Callebaut, one of the world’s top manufacturers of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, has been working to grow sales and set high standards for innovation and environmental and social responsibility. Barry Callebaut released its half-year financial report Thursday, showing sales revenue growth for the Switzerland-based company was flat compared with a year prior. The company reported challenges on several fronts, including increases in sugar prices and restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dive Insight:

As the global chocolate industry faces challenges, Barry Callebaut has tapped a new leader who is not only intimately familiar with the company and its role in the industry, but who has also played a role in some of its biggest innovation, environmental and social responsibility initiatives.

“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,” Patrick De Maeseneire, chairman of Barry Callebaut’s board, said in a written statement.

Peter Boone

Courtesy of Barry Callebaut


Boone was one of the drivers behind Forever Chocolate — Barry Callebaut’s commitment to eliminate poverty and child labor from its supply chain, become carbon and forest positive and use 100% sustainable ingredients by 2025. He told Candy Industry in a 2018 interview that prior to Forever Chocolate, the company was doing a lot of good things, but it was lacking clear impact and benchmark goals.

Since establishing Forever Chocolate, Barry Callebaut has mapped a total of 181,861 of its cacao farms and collected data to establish who the farmers are and help them increase efficiency, yields and income. The company’s global gourmet chocolate brands have a 100% sustainable cocoa supply chain, and 61% of the non-cocoa ingredients the company uses are from sustainable sources. Sustainability efforts at Barry Callebaut have reduced its carbon footprint by 8.1%, and earlier this year environmental impact disclosure organization CDP recognized Barry Callebaut as a Supplier Engagement Leader for working with its suppliers to reduce emissions.

Boone has also been involved with Barry Callebaut’s most recent — and transformative — innovations: ruby chocolate and more use of cacao fruit through WholeFruit Chocolate and the Cabosse Naturals ingredient line. Ruby chocolate, a fourth type of chocolate with a rosy hue and taste reminiscent of a cross between berries and chocolate, was especially tricky to get into the U.S. market because it needed another level of regulation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in order to be labeled as chocolate. Cabosse Naturals and WholeFruit Chocolate are newer inititatives to upcycle traditionally discarded parts of the cacao fruit into other ingredients or items — the latter is completely made from them.

Sustainability and innovation are growing in importance, both for manufacturers and consumers. As CEO, Boone can help the company continue on the same path. He can also help push Barry Callebaut’s Treat Tomorrow initiative, which kicks off next week as a way to start discussing new macro trends in global chocolate consumption and help manufacturers create products that fit into the future.

According to Reuters, there is speculation that departing CEO de Saint-Affrique is in the running to become Danone’s new CEO, replacing Emmanuel Faber who was ousted last month.

With Boone stepping into the CEO’s role, there will be a few other changes in Barry Callebaut leadership this fall. Steve Woolley, who is the company’s vice president and general manager of global accounts in North America, will be replacing Boone as president of the Americas. He’s been working for Barry Callebaut since 2012. Additionally, Jo Thys, who has been vice president of cocoa in Africa since 2017, will be the company’s new president of Asia Pacific, effective July 1.