The Denmark-based company said CEO de Jong intends to pursue a career as a non-executive director outside of Chr. Hansen after leading the company as CEO for almost five years.
de Jong will continue as CEO until a replacement has been found. The process to find a replacement has already begun, said the company.
“While I am choosing now to pursue a different career, I will continue fully dedicated in my role as CEO for Chr. Hansen until my replacement has been found,” said de Jong – who told sister publication FeedNavigator that he wishes to return to his home country, the Netherlands, and will explore a career as a non-executive director outside Chr. Hansen ‘in due course’.
"There has always been a close and open dialogue between myself and the chairman of the board, and as my considerations about relocating to the Netherlands to join my family were becoming more pronounced, we decided this morning to enter into an agreement about me transitioning out of the CEO position,” he said.
"But it is important to note that it will be business as usual with me at the helm until a successor has been found."
Commenting on the news Ole Andersen, Chairman of the Company’s Board of Directors said: “Cees has done a tremendous job for Chr. Hansen and its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders. Together with the Corporate Leadership Team, Cees has steered the Company while delivering in accordance with our financial goals, helped develop an ambitious strategy and been a driving force behind our initiatives to pursue new growth opportunities.”
Andersen said de Jong will leave the company ‘in a much stronger shape’ than when he arrived, but also added that the company has several ‘new and exciting prospects’ for CEO.
“I therefore look forward to identifying and appointing a new CEO for Chr. Hansen among the very strong candidates there will naturally be for this attractive position.”