Danone – How to Find a Visionary Chief Digital Officer to Fill Big Shoes

LS International

When Danone UK&I, a renowned multinational food company, decided to restructure its organization and appoint a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) with a significant focus on media, they knew they had a challenging task ahead. The previous leader, who had been an exceptional and beloved figure in the business for many years, had left a lasting legacy. The new CDO had big shoes to fill and would play a pivotal role in driving the company’s digital and media transformation. To find the right visionary leader for this critical role, Danone sought the expertise of the LS International team, known for their tenacity and ability to understand clients’ unique needs.

The Challenge of Filling Big Shoes:
The departure of an exceptional leader left Danone facing the daunting challenge of finding a successor who could continue the digital and media transformation journey. The new Chief Digital Officer needed not only to possess a deep understanding of digital technologies and media trends but also to inspire and lead a team of experts in various domains. The ideal candidate had to align the digital vision with the company’s mission and brand ambitions while driving sustainable growth.

The key responsibilities for this role were:

1. Defining and Leading the Digital and Media Vision: The CDO would be responsible for setting the long-term integrated digital and media vision for the company. This vision needed to be a driving force for growth while staying in harmony with Danone’s overall mission and brand objectives.

2. Strategic Development and Execution: The CDO would lead the strategic development and deployment of critical digital and media transformation projects. This included identifying opportunities, devising effective strategies, and ensuring successful project execution.

3. Inspirational Leadership: To drive the digital transformation, the CDO would inspire and coach a team of senior functional experts across various domains, including Paid Media, Earned Media, One Search, Owned Media, Martech, and Data. This leadership role involved managing four direct reports and overseeing a team of 23 digital and media experts.

LS International’s Expertise and Tenacity:
Danone enlisted the services of LS International for this crucial executive headhunting search. Known for their tenacity, Lauren and her team approached this challenge with dedication and passion. They understood the gravity of finding a visionary leader who could match the exceptional legacy left behind by the previous executive.

Understanding the Unique Needs:
Lauren’s team invested time in truly comprehending Danone’s requirements and company culture. By carefully listening to Danone’s leadership and HR team, they gained valuable insights into the type of leader who would thrive in the organization’s dynamic environment.

The Search Process:
The executive search process commenced with meticulous planning and innovative strategies. Lauren and her team utilized their extensive network and state-of-the-art search methodologies to identify potential candidates with exceptional track records in digital and media transformation.

Presenting the Top Candidates:
Following a comprehensive screening process, the LS International team presented Danone with a shortlist of high-caliber candidates who demonstrated the necessary expertise, leadership qualities, and vision for the role. Each candidate had a proven track record in driving digital and media initiatives, ensuring that they were capable of meeting the company’s ambitious growth goals.

Client Reference from Helen Marriot, Danone’s HR Director: 

Would highly recommend Lauren and team for exec headhunting searches. Tenacious, truly listen and understand the need, always available, flexible.

The executive headhunting search conducted by LS International played a pivotal role in Danone’s transformation journey. By finding a visionary Chief Digital Officer with the capability to fill the big shoes left by the previous leader, Danone ensured the continuity of its digital and media transformation initiatives. This case study exemplifies the importance of executive headhunters who truly understand their clients’ unique needs and possess the tenacity to identify exceptional leaders who can drive growth and innovation in critical leadership roles.


State 1: Danone UK&I needed to find a new CDO with deep media management experience.

State 2: Met the perfect fit candidate.

Time Frame: 14 Days

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