Barry Callebaut, a manufacturer of chocolate and cocoa products, plans to invest 500 million Swiss francs ($560 million) over the next two years in core customer areas and efficiency measures that are expected to reduce annual costs by 250 million Swiss francs.

The program, called BC next level, will increase the number of regions to five from three, establish a customer supply and development organization, and reduce the number of executive committee members to six from nine.

Peter Vanneste, formerly chief financial officer for the personal hygiene group Ontex, will become CFO at Barry Callebaut Nov. 1. He spent over 15 years at Jacobs Douwe Egberts, including two years as CFO.  Ben De Schryver, currently CFO, will become regional president of North America.

“Due to evolving customer demands for more sustainable and innovative products, now is the time to bring the group to the next level by strategically investing in its future,” said Peter Feld, chief executive officer of Zurich-based Barry Callebaut. “We will move decision-making closer to our markets and customers while fostering simplicity and digitization to advance our well-recognized innovation and sustainability approach to deliver additional value Dr. Clemens Headshot Size.jpgClemens Woehrle, PhD, chief customer supply and development officer at Barry Callebaut. Source: WMF. for all our stakeholders.”

The regional divisions will be Western Europe; Central Europe and Eastern Europe; North America; Latin America; and Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

The investment of 500 million Swiss francs will cover areas such as innovation, service, sustainability and quality. Digital platforms will boost speed to market. Existing financial resources will fund the investment. Most of the savings will come from reducing cost-to-serve in operations, optimizing the manufacturing footprint, streamlining enabling functions, leveraging shared service centers and a focus on end-to-end supply chain performance.

New members on the executive committee will be Mr. Vanneste, Jutta Suchanek, who will join Barry Callebaut Oct. 1 as chief people and diversity officer, and Clemens Woehrle, PhD, who will join Barry Callebaut Oct. 1 as chief customer supply and development officer. Ms. Suchanek previously worked at Syngenta and comes to Barry Callebaut from GfK SE, a market research company, where she was chief human resource and diversity officer. Dr. Woehrle mostly recently was chief operating officer at WMF Group, a cookware and automatic coffee machine maker.

Jo Thys, currently chief operations officer for Barry Callebaut, will become president of operations strategy and innovation and report Jutta Suchanek Headshot Size.jpgJutta Suchanek, chief people and diversity officer at Barry Callebaut. Source: Jutta Suchanek.  to Dr. Woehrle. Vamsi Mohan Thati will become regional president for the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region.

Steve Woolley, president and CEO Americas; Masha Vis-Mertens, chief human resources officer; and Rogier van Sligter, president of Europe, Middle East and Africa, will leave Barry Callebaut to pursue other career opportunities.  

Barry Callebaut on Nov. 1 will provide a strategic update and more details with mid-term guidance linked to BC next level.