Three years after the acquisition of WhiteWave, Paris-based Danone said it is moving into a new chapter for its Essential Dairy and Plant-based (EDP) business to capture greater growth and value.

Following the WhiteWave acquisition, the global EDP organization focused on implementing a successful three-year integration program. In that time, the company said it established a solid operational backbone and executed a strategy that, for the first time, blended and cross-fertilized the essential dairy and plant-based elements of the category to meet the rising demand from consumers adopting flexitarian diets. In addition, innovation capabilities were upscaled, and importantly, the synergies plan at the core of WhiteWave’s acquisition was delivered.

EDP North America is Danone’s largest business and the biggest B Corp in the world, Danone noted. The transformation of the EDP business in the region provides a strong foundation for it to move into a new chapter of growth — one that captures the realities of a fast-changing market.

To achieve this, the EDP global organization is evolving in two ways, Danone said. First, to elevate EDP North America at the Danone executive committee level and strengthen the local focus of its organization, the business will be recognized as a separate business, led by a new appointee. Second, the company will create a Plant-based Acceleration Unit to leverage the power of EDP’s expertise in this area to unleash further growth opportunities across Danone, notably by expanding into new geographies outside North America.

As a result, Shane Grant will join Danone as executive vice president and CEO Danone North America, effective May 11, 2020, to lead the EDP business in that market. He will report to Danone Chairman and CEO Emmanuel Faber and will be a member of the executive committee.

Before joining Danone, Grant spent almost 20 years with The Coca-Cola Co, the company said. He held various leadership roles in marketing, commercial and general management, including senior vice president with Glacéau and president, Coca-Cola Canada before being appointed president of the Still beverages business unit for Coca-Cola North America in January 2019.

With an ambition to increase plant-based sales worldwide from approximately $2.2 billion in 2019 to approximately $5.4 billion by 2025, the Plant-based Acceleration Unit will be led by Francisco Camacho, Danone said. He will also continue in his current role in leading EDP-based activities in Europe, Latin America, CIS and Aspame (Asia, Pacific, Middle East) as executive vice president, EDP International.

The Plant-based Acceleration Unit will further expand into new categories such as coffee, but also by leveraging plant-based expertise in categories outside EDP such as baby food and healthy aging food solutions, and by pivoting more large brands into plant-based. In leading EDP International, Camacho will continue to drive EDP profitable sales growth internationally, building on the successful turnaround achieved in Europe under his leadership.

“I am grateful to our global and North American EDP teams for the great work achieved over the last three years in integrating WhiteWave and our dairy business in the USA and Canada,” Faber said.