He has returned to Barcelona a little over a month ago and he does so ready “to dance good rock & roll.” Daniel Ordóñez thus faces his new position as general director of Iberia at Danone, where he entered in 2007. The man now responsible for the three subsidiaries of the multinational for Spain and Portugal is convinced that the economic situation presents an unprecedented context for companies, “And choosing music and dance will mean deciding the strategy to follow in an industry that must reinvent itself.”
“With a tad more than 50 years”, he has developed his professional career at Unilever, first, and Danone, later, where he started as a member of the marketing team of the group’s large yogurt brands. He held positions of responsibility in Latin America for six years. And in 2015 he was assigned to Danone’s headquarters in Paris.
Currently, he is looking for “new lenses from which to analyze the business to reimagine growth and capture the increase that will occur in specialized and organic nutrition.” An objective that he must meet in what he considers an unusual moment in terms of cost inflation, “whoever stands still may lose half of his margin.”
Daniel Ordóñez measures his speech neatly, but speaks frankly. When he dresses in a suit, he likes to clarify that it is “a little more informal than it appears.” He gets emotional when he talks about his land, Argentina, where he came from more than 20 years ago, and those who know him define him as a person with energy, ambition and responsibility.
Father of three children, he analyzes his competition as an opportunity to improve. “Danone had become an extremely efficient machine, but less interesting for a new consumer who values the stories behind the ingredients,” says Ordóñez.
In this sense, it intends to make what they have called “decomoditization” a mantra for all the group’s staff in order to grow and attract talent. “Companies must work from innovation, value and purpose, so the industry wins and society wins,” he points out. And to achieve this, “we will dance to the rhythm of rock & roll” and “we will retrace the path we have done.”
Large groups committed to change
The CEO of Danone Iberia, Daniel Ordóñez, argues that generating a great positive impact on the world in terms of sustainability requires large companies committed to change. “It is very easy to say and a little more complicated to put it into practice,” he admitted in the last meeting of Matins Esade. However, “as the first mass consumption company with BCorp certification in Spain, Danone aspires to transform the food model”. To do this, they work on three axes: improving nutrition; the transformation towards a more sustainable agricultural and livestock system; and the reduction of carbon emissions.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.