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A group of shareholders is asking Danone board members to outline their strategic vision for the French dairy giant at its forthcoming AGM.

The request, made by a group holding 0.7% of Danone’s shares, was contained in an addendum to the notice of a shareholders’ meeting published by the Alpro and Activia brands owner yesterday (7 April).

Made up of asset managers Phitrust, Ircantec, CAVP, OFI Asset Management and Mirova, the group wants each board member to outline their future strategy for the business at the AGM on 29 April.

Last month, Emmanuel Faber was removed as chairman and CEO of Danone following speculation of disagreements with some board members over strategy. Danone investors Bluebell Capital Partners and Artisan Partners had also called for him to go and to initiate restructuring to tackle what they considered a poor financial performance.

Shareholders said in their request: “Each director whose mandate is in progress, or who is presented to the vote of the shareholders at this meeting, is requested to present to the shareholders its strategic vision for the group and in particular its opinion on the Local First plan.”

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The group also asked for opinions on corporate governance and “the necessary sustainability of separating managerial powers”. It added: “The recent governance crisis experienced by Danone has highlighted both formal dysfunctions and
substantive disagreements existing within the board of directors of the company.”

They also requested board members outline their position on Danone maintaining its status as a purpose-driven company, its approach to environmental issues, and the means with which it will be implemented so that “the group can achieve the objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement”.

In what it described as a “preliminary” response, the Danone board said the principle of collegiality prevents the directors from taking individual positions in public and they are “naturally supportive of all the decisions taken by the board”, adding the company will continue to engage in dialogue with shareholders.

The board reiterated support for the Local First plan announced late last year, which involved a reorganisation of the business around local hubs, saying the strategy “aims to accelerate growth and adapt the organisation of the company to the needs of consumers”.

Read just-food’s analysis – Where now for Danone after Faber’s departure?