With a transition at the very top imminent, Nestle SA's board of directors hired away Ulf Mark Schneider, a healthcare products company CEO, as its next CEO. It's a "reconfirmation of the long-term strategy" of turning Nestle into a "nutrition, health and wellness company."
The dominos started falling with Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman for 12 years, reaching the company's mandatory retirement age. The board of directors decided to propose Paul Bulcke, Nestlé’s current CEO, for election as chairman at the next annual general meeting on April 6, 2017. That created the need for a new CEO.
Schneider is 50 years old and a German and U.S. citizen. Since 2003 he has been CEO of Germany's Fresenius Group, a €28 billion company, "which offers products and services for dialysis, hospitals and outpatient treatments," according to Nestle. He is a graduate of the University of St. Gallen with both a graduate and a doctoral degree, and also holds a Harvard Business School MBA. He will join Nestlé on Sept. 1.
Brabeck-Letmathe served Nestlé for 50 years, including 11 years as CEO and 12 as chairman. Bulcke started working for Nestle in 1979, at age 25, and has been CEO for eight years.
"In order to prepare for this future role as active, non-executive chairman and respect a minimum cooling-off period, Mr Bulcke will resign from his present position as CEO on 31 December 2016," the company said in an announcement June 27.
"In today’s extraordinary Nomination Committee and full Board of Directors meetings, the board reconfirmed the long-term orientation for Nestlé as a Nutrition, Health and Wellness company and expressed the intention of fully integrating both Nestlé Health Science S.A. and Nestlé Skin Health S.A. into the Nestlé organization reporting directly to the CEO of Nestlé S.A. from 1 January 2017," the announcement continued.