Firmenich Governance

A Family-Owned Company

A private company with a public governance, Firmenich values its independence and long-term view of the industry. That’s why it operates according to the highest standards of international governance.


This operational excellence is represented by the high calibre of its international Board of Directors, led by Patrick Firmenich, Chairman of the Board, as well as its Executive Team, headed by Gilbert Ghostine, CEO.

    From left to right: Mr. Michel Firmenich, Mr. Richard Ridinger, Dr. Antoine Firmenich, Ms. Barbara Kux, Mr. Patrick Firmenich, Ms. Karen Jones CBE, Dr. Ajai Puri, Mr. Pierre Bouchut, Mr. André Pometta

    Mr. Michel Firmenich

    Board Member

    Member of the Nomination and Governance & Compensation Committees

    Michel Firmenich joined the Board of Firmenich in 2013.

    Michel Firmenich was appointed Chairman of Sentarom SA, the holding company of the Firmenich group of companies, in 2015 and continues to hold this position.

    Prior to joining the Firmenich Board, Michel worked at Firmenich for 27 years successfully holding a broad scope of executive management roles within the company‘s Information Systems (IS) division. He served as Vice President, Head of IS from 2005 until his retirement in 2008.

    Today, he is a Board Member of Ecole “La Découverte” SA in Geneva. He holds a BS in IT Management, from the University of Geneva’s Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences.

    Mr. Richard Ridinger

    Board Member

    Member of the Governance and Compensation Committee

    Richard Ridinger joined the Board of Firmenich in October 2016.

    Richard Ridinger has extensive experience in science-driven organizations, most recently as the CEO of Lonza, a global leader in Life Sciences, until 2019. He strengthened Lonza’s market position, driving competitive capabilities and productivity improvement in critical areas. Prior to Lonza, he was responsible for Care Chemicals, the largest group at Cognis, a former division of Henkel. A trained chemical engineer, his career spans process development, production management, product and marketing management of different product areas, as well as global business leadership.

    Richard is currently Chairman of the Advisory Committee of Zentiva, a Board Member of WIRBCopernicus Group (WCG) and Evolva Group, a Member of the Advisory Group of NOVO Holding and a Member of the Supervisory Board of Brenntag AG.

    He holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany.

    Dr. Antoine Firmenich

    Board Member

    Member of the Governance & Compensation and Finance, Audit & Risk Committees

    Antoine Firmenich joined the Board of Firmenich in 2009. He was a Board Member of Sentarom SA, the holding company of the Firmenich group of companies, from 2004, serving as its Chairman from 2009 until 2015.

    Since 2008, Antoine has been the CEO & Managing Director of Aquilus Pte Ltd in Singapore. He is a founding partner of Alatus Capital, a value investment management firm which works with preeminent global foundations, pension funds, endowments and discerning long-term investors.

    Over the past 8 years, Antoine has been increasingly involved in climate and sustainability issues, specifically supporting basic research projects on several continents, and driving high-impact investment and policy initiatives centered on the long-term health of our oceans and coastal ecosystems.

    He previously worked at Firmenich in a number of roles including leadership of the Sweet Goods and Savory Global Business Units. He has also served on a number of corporate boards.

    Antoine holds a BS in Life Sciences from MIT, a PhD in Biochemistry from Stanford University School of Medicine, US, and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

    Ms. Barbara Kux


    Member of the Nomination and Finance, Audit & Risk Committees

    Barbara first served on the Firmenich Board from May 2008 to October 2011, then rejoined in 2013 and was appointed Vice-Chairman in 2016.

    Barbara has over 30 years of experience in management positions with leading international industrial and consumer goods companies, shaving started as a management consultant with McKinsey.

    In 2008, she was appointed the first woman to the Managing Board of Siemens AG, where she increased results from supply chain management and green technologies, following similar achievements at Royal Philips on the Group Management Committee from 2003 to 2008. As a member of the SDSN Leadership Council for the United Nations she contributed to the development of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    Barbara is currently a Member of the Supervisory Board of Grosvenor Group, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Pargesa Holding, SGS, and Total, among other companies. She is also lecturer for sustainability at the University of St. Gallen and Director for Corporate Governance at INSEAD.

    She holds an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.

    Mr. Patrick Firmenich

    Chairman, Firmenich

    Chairman of the Board since 2016

    Board member since 2002

    Patrick served as the Group’s CEO for 12 years, from 2002 until 2014. During this time, he maintained Firmenich’s leadership in Perfumery and Ingredients, while implementing a long-term vision for the Company’s Flavors Business Unit. He also sustained above-average investment in R&D and legacy of game-changing technologies, while setting an ambitious sustainability strategy and leading the Group to achieve world-class HS&E performance.

    Patrick first joined Firmenich in 1990, and spent a decade successfully leading the strategic development of the international Fine Fragrance business in New York and Paris.

    Patrick is also a Board member of Jacobs Holding, INSEAD and the INSEAD World Foundation, as well as a member of the Advisory Council of the Swiss Board Institute. He is the winner of the 2020 EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ Switzerland award for Family Business.

    Patrick holds a law degree from the University of Geneva and qualified as a barrister in 1987. He also has an MBA from INSEAD.

    Ms. Karen Jones

    Board Member

    Chairman of the Governance & Compensation Committee

    Karen Jones CBE joined the Board of Firmenich in 2011.

    Karen is the founder and Chairman of Food and Fuel Ltd., a UK hospitality company specializing in gastropub restaurants, and has 30 years of experience in creating, developing, and leading restaurant and pub businesses across the UK.

    Today, Karen is Executive Chairman of Prezzo, an Italian restaurant chain in the UK. In addition, Karen chairs Hawksmoor, Mowgli, and Frontier, a joint venture with ei Group/Stonegate Pubs, and is an investor in several hospitality concepts in London.

    She was appointed to The Crown Estate in 2020 as a Commissioner. She chairs the Board of National Theatre Enterprises Ltd, sits on the Imbiba Advisory Board and is a Patron of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

    Karen holds a BA in English and American Literature from the University of East Anglia, UK, which also awarded her an honorary doctorate. She spent a year at Wellesley College, US.

    Dr. Ajai Puri

    Board Member

    Member of the Nomination Committee

    Dr. Ajai Puri joined the Board of Firmenich in 2014.

    Ajai served as Executive Board Member and President - Research, Development and Product Integrity from 2003 to 2007, at Royal Numico, a specialized nutrition company which is now part of Groupe Danone. He was responsible for developing and implementing a highly successful science-driven, consumer-led R&D strategy in the areas of early life and medical nutrition, and also served as Principal Crisis Management Officer. Previously, Dr. Puri had a 22-year career at The Minute Maid Company / The Coca-Cola Company in the US, in a variety of global positions.

    Ajai currently holds non-executive directorships at Tate and Lyle PLC, a global provider of high quality ingredients to the food and beverage industries, at Britannia Industries Ltd, one of India’s largest independent food groups, and Olam International, a leading global food and agribusiness.

    Ajai holds a PhD in Food Science from the University of Maryland, US, and an MBA from the Crummer School, Rollins College, US.

    Mr. Pierre Bouchut

    Board Member

    Chairman of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee

    Pierre Bouchut joined the Board of Firmenich in 2016.

    Pierre was the Chief Operating Officer for Europe and Indonesia and a member of the Management Board of Ahold Delhaize until January 2018. Prior to the merger of Ahold and Delhaize, he served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Delhaize Group from 2012.

    This followed an extensive career with Carrefour, amongst others as Chief Financial Officer and then Executive Director of Growth Markets, overseeing operations in Latin America, Turkey, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. As Chief Financial Officer at Schneider Group, Pierre developed numerous initiatives in structured finance, risk management and external growth, and was CEO of Casino group following a career in corporate finance.

    Today, he is a Board Member of several companies including retail property investor Hammerson Plc and Albioma SA, which specializes in the production of “green” electricity. A graduate of HEC Paris, Pierre holds a Master’s in Applied Economics from the University of Paris-Dauphine, France.

    Mr. André Pometta

    Board Member

    Member of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee

    André Pometta joined the Firmenich Board in 2003. He was a board member of Sentarom SA from 2000 to 2008 and re-joined in 2014.

    Since 2013, André has worked exclusively on innovative projects with inventors, successful entrepreneurs and executives. Prior to his current role, he worked at Firmenich in a number of leadership roles and was a member of the Flavors Executive Team from 2009 to 2013.

    André joined Firmenich as an Assistant Fragrance Development Manager for Consumer Fragrance first in Geneva, and then in Australia. His management career spanned the Group’s business on several continents, including the Asia Pacific region, North Africa & the Middle East, and Europe. After serving as President of Firmenich Aromatics Co in Shanghai, China from 2008, André was in charge of managing Firmenich’s Beverage Base & Seafood extract businesses globally from 2011, and Savory in Europe. He started his career in 1997 with the Zuellig Group in the Philippines.

    André is a Board Member of Smixin SA, a cleantech company, and Cluster1 SA, an animal health company. André holds a BS in Economics from HEC Lausanne, Switzerland.

    From left to right: Mr. Gilbert Ghostine, Mr. Emmanuel Butstraen, Ms. Ilaria Resta, Mr. Boet Brinkgreve, Dr. Sarah Reisinger, Ms. Mieke Van de Capelle, Mr. Benoit Fouilland, Ms. Jane Sinclair and Mr. Eric Nicolas.

    Mr. Gilbert Ghostine

    Chief Executive Officer

    Gilbert joined Firmenich in October 2014 as the Group’s first non-family member CEO. Building on Firmenich’s legacy of world-class research and creativity, exemplified by a Nobel Prize, he is firmly focused on shaping winning solutions for his customers to delight their consumers worldwide. A champion of inclusive capitalism, Gilbert is constantly balancing the short-term pressures of execution with the long-term investments required to create value for the Group, its business partners and stakeholders, and has embedded our industry-leading sustainability strategy across the business worldwide. Prior to leading Firmenich, Gilbert acquired a deep understanding of the Consumer Goods and Luxury industries during 21 years with Diageo, leading its businesses across four continents: Africa, Asia Pacific, the United States and Europe. Gilbert holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Saint Joseph University, Lebanon and completed Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

    Mr. Boet Brinkgreve

    President Ingredients

    Boet has a track record of driving strategic growth and transformation at Firmenich since 2007. As President of Ingredients, he is responsible for strengthening the Group’s leadership in naturals, biotech, biodegradable and renewable ingredients. Focused on driving the most competitive palette in the industry across Perfumery and Flavors, Boet leads the Group’s end-to-end Ingredients business, spanning sales, portfolio management and industrial operations, as well as new business segments, such as adhesives, cosmetics and agriculture. He is also responsible for the strategic leadership of Purchasing, overseeing global sourcing, procurement and supplier collaboration. Previously, Boet held the position of Chief Supply Chain Officer. Prior to joining Firmenich, Boet worked for DuPont in several senior roles, in private equity and ran various start-ups. Boet holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from HTS Den Bosch and an Executive MBA from INSEAD.

    Mr. Emmanuel Butstraen

    President Taste & Beyond

    Emmanuel is committed to strengthening Firmenich’s position as the global innovation partner of choice in taste and nutrition, leading growth across the Group’s three segments: Beverages, Sweet Goods, and Savory. Creating winning solutions for our customers with a focus on enhanced wellbeing, he is putting Firmenich’s expertise to work making healthier choices taste great, from sugar, salt and fat reduction, to green protein and clean label offerings. Prior to Firmenich, Emmanuel was President of Solvay’s Novecare GBU, preceded by 17 years with BASF, where he served as Strategy Senior VP of the Agricultural Products division. Emmanuel graduated as an Agricultural Engineer and obtained an MBA, both from the University of Lille.

    Mr. Benoit Fouilland

    Chief Financial Officer

    Benoit joined Firmenich as Chief Financial Officer in September 2020. He is responsible for leading the company’s global finance organization and serves as Secretary of the Finance, Audit & Risk Committee of the Board of Directors. Benoit brings extensive experience of building and leading finance organizations at global technology companies, including Business Objects, SAP and Criteo. In his most recent role as Criteo’s CFO he had a pivotal role in scaling the company through rapid growth and leading its highly successful NASDAQ IPO. He is passionate about developing finance excellence to maximize company performance and enable sustainable business success. Benoit holds a Master’s in Management from the ESLSCA Graduate School of Business in Paris, a Master’s degree in Finance from Dauphine University in Paris and an MBA from INSEAD.

    Mr. Eric Nicolas

    Chief Operating Officer

    Eric is overseeing Corporate Strategy & M&A, Digitalization and Information Services, Business Process Excellence, Global Workplace Solutions, and Supply Chain. A champion of sustainable finance, he is a Board Member of the Livelihoods Carbon Fund, rated as “Best Corporate Offsetting Program” by the Voluntary Carbon Markets Rankings in 2016. Prior to joining Firmenich, Eric served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and Group Strategy of the Renault Group in Paris, France. Eric holds a Master’s in Econometrics from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, a Doctorate in Economy and Organizational Sciences, a Master’s in Finance from HEC in Paris, and has successfully completed the International Directors Program at INSEAD.

    Ms. Ilaria Resta

    President Perfumery

    Ilaria was named President, Global Perfumery in March 2020, and is transforming our Fine Fragrance and Consumer Fragrances business. She is leading organizational change and pioneering digital innovation to lead Perfumery into new markets, augment creative excellence, and drive sales for winning performance with our customers. A passionate business leader with expertise in brand building, sales and P&L management, Ilaria has more than 22 years of experience with Procter & Gamble, building iconic brands such as Tide, Ariel, Fairy, Swiffer, Duracell, Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Herbal Essences and Aussie, across Europe, Middle-East, China and North America. She was recognized as 2020 Brand Builder of the Year in the US by WWD. Highly creative, collaborative, direct and positive, Ilaria believes in the power of people and partnership to drive breakthrough business results. Ilaria holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Economics from the University of Naples and a Master’s in Financial Mathematics.

    Dr. Sarah Reisinger

    Chief Research Officer

    Dr. Sarah Reisinger, Chief Research Officer, is driving Firmenich towards new frontiers of scientific excellence, building on the Group’s legacy of industry-leading innovation. She is committed to embracing new technology to deliver breakthrough solutions in our fast-changing world, harnessing the Research & Development team’s multidisciplinary and global approach. Dr. Reisinger combines an extensive background in biotechnology with a strong track record in ingredients and technology development for the consumer goods industry. Prior to joining Firmenich in 2018 as VP Biotechnology and Process Engineering, she held pivotal roles at Ginkgo Bioworks, Intrexon and Amyris, after starting her career in the field of biology and cancer therapeutics. Dr. Reisinger holds a B.S. in Biology from Harvey Mudd College, US, as well as an M.S. in Plant Biology and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of California, Berkeley.

    Ms. Jane Sinclair

    General Counsel

    Jane leads the governance functions of the company and brings over 30 years of international experience in FMCG, pharmaceuticals and research companies. With extensive experience in emerging and mature markets – having lived and worked in Asia, Australia, USA and Europe –, Jane is committed to building trust to last by conducting responsible business for present and future generations. In addition to being the General Counsel, Jane leads the Legal & Compliance functions across our worldwide operations with direct oversight of Legal; Intellectual Property; Quality, Health, Safety & Environment; Regulatory; Business Ethics and Trade Compliance. With her commitment to responsible business, the company's leadership in environmental, safety and regulatory stewardship has been secured. Prior to joining Firmenich, Jane worked in multiple senior roles in the Asia Pacific, USA, Europe and Australia for Abbott, AbbVie, Genea and The Coca-Cola Company. Jane holds an LL.B. in Asian Studies and Law from the Australian National University, an MBA in Business Administration and Management from Deakin University, and successfully completed the INSEAD International Directors Program.

    Ms. Mieke Van de Capelle

    Chief Human Resources Officer

    Mieke joined Firmenich as Chief Human Resources Officer in June 2016. She is responsible for leading the Global Human Resources, Sustainability and Corporate Communications functions, setting our strategy and winning culture as a responsible business, and is the Secretary of the Governance and Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors. Under her leadership, Firmenich obtained the EDGE global certification for gender equality, as one of only seven companies worldwide, and Ethical Corporation’s global Diversity & Inclusion Award. Mieke is at the forefront of defining the shift in workforce capabilities to meet changing demands impacted by digitalization and focuses on our core values and purpose to uphold human rights. A seasoned leader with 20+ years of broad consumer goods experience, Mieke has worked across Europe, the US and Asia. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Communication Strategy from the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France, as well as a Master’s Degree in Philology from Ghent University, a Diploma in Business Administration and Management, and a Diploma in Organizational Leadership from IMD Business School.

    Our legacy

    We have been leading
    business responsibly
    for 125 years.

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