The two positions are held by Antoine Fiévet, a member of the family that created the French dairy business 150 years ago.

The proposal, instigated by Fiévet himself, will go before Bel’s board for consideration next year, when Béliot, the company’s VP in charge of strategy, growth levers and worldwide markets, will be put forward to take over the CEO role.

Before the plan is put to vote, Béliot, who joined the business in 2018, will succeed Fiévet as chairman of the supervisory board of the Materne, Pom Potes, GoGo Squeez and Mont Blanc brands, collectively known as MOM.

“This evolution seeks to allow Bel Group to continue to lead its transformation, while perpetuating the vision and values carried by the Bel-Fiévet shareholder family. The mission undertaken by Cécile Béliot in this transitory period is to progressively prepare the next steps for bringing together Bel and MOM teams and to continue implementing the group’s strategy on its three complementary product families – dairy, plant-based and fruit – in line with the innovation, internationalisation and modernisation processes that she has already set in motion within Bel,” the French company said in a statement.

Bel continued with respect to the separation of the management functions: “This type of governance has shown its strengths in many international companies and should allow both for short-term transformation and for long-term sustainable performance in an increasingly uncertain and complex world.”

Danone, the French dairy giant, recently split the functions of chairman and CEO amid investor criticism of its governance structure. The two positions were held by Emmanuel Faber, who subsequently stepped down from both roles.

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Fiévet added: “This governance shift is the fruit of a long-standing consideration, and I have wished to progressively set it up to guarantee the stability and sustainability of the group’s growth. Cécile Béliot has shown over these past years her commitment to our group’s values and DNA, her leadership, her ability to transform our model in order to uphold our mission: offering healthier and responsible food for all.”

Incoming CEO Béliot said: “I deeply believe in the strength of our model to invent the sustainable food of tomorrow, accessible to as many people as possible. I am proud that we are committed to this on a daily basis, together with all of the employees of the group.”

In 2019, Bel revealed a new strategy focused on a broader portfolio framework covering dairy, fruit and “hybrid” products, including plant-based. The following year it acquired French plant-based start-up All in Foods. And this year, Bel is in the process of selling its Leerdammer cheese brand to another French dairy business Lactalis.