French family-owned dairy products group Lactalis has announced a new management set-up under which chairman Emmanuel Besnier will also head the company's executive committee from 1 April.
Lactalis in addition named Thierry Clement, who has been with the group since 2007, to the newly created position of director of operations.
The changes follow the departure in early February of Philippe Palazzi, who had served as chief executive for just over a year, with Lactalis citing differences with Besnier over group strategy.
"I decided to continue my involvement by being as close as possible to the teams and by creating an operations management to support me," Besnier said in a statement.
The Besnier family founded the group in 1933 and continues to control it privately.
Earlier this month, Lidl France and Lactalis agreed to increase milk prices for dairy producers in a bid to offer better remuneration.
Since becoming head of the group in 2000, Emmanuel Besnier has pursued acquisitions, including the takeover of Italy's Parmalat in 2011, that have turned Lactalis into one of the world's biggest dairy companies with annual sales of more than €20 billion.
In July 2019, French and Mexican dairy groups Lactalis and Grupo Lala SAB de CV reached an agreement to end litigation in Latin America, allowing Lactalis to conclude the acquisition of Brazilian dairy producer Itambé Alimentos SA.