Divine Chocolate has announced that Sophi Tranchell MBE, the first MD of the Fairtrade company and its CEO since 1999, left the company in May.
The news of Tranchell’s departure coincides with the announcement that the company has a new majority shareholder: Ludwig Weinrich GmbH & Co KG (Weinrich), which has manufactured Divine’s chocolate since the brand’s launch in 1998.
Tranchell’s decision to leave came in November and in a release Divine says she has since focused on ensuring the company was left in good hands and well-supported for the future.
“I am immensely proud of Divine, what it stands for and what it has achieved,” says Tranchell. “With a great team, and investors who had the vision and patience to support us, we set out to make a real difference in the chocolate industry – a real transition towards more equitable trade that could never again be undone. I believe Divine has led and catalyzed such a change.
With a great team, and investors who had the vision and patience to support us, we set out to make a real difference in the chocolate industry
“Working closely with farmers has been an absolute privilege – their lives have enriched mine and hopefully, via the farmers’ stories we have told, other lives have been enriched too … The same goes for both the extraordinary individuals I have been able to work with who have given their support, advice and inspiration, and the thousands of people who vocally and actively continue to join us on the journey. Divine wouldn’t be here today without all of them and their imagination, courage and commitment.
“I am reassured to be leaving the company with our main manufacturer Weinrich having capitalized the business, in the knowledge that Weinrich’s CEO Cord Budde has been, and continues to be a totally committed partner, sharing Divine’s values and supporting its mission and ambitions.”
Founding shareholder Kuapa Kokoo – a farmers’ cooperative in Ghana – will still own 20% of the shares and continue to have board representation.
Ruth Harding is now overseeing the UK operation and Toby Bundy is the interim CFO.
Photo credit: Ian Tuttle