About FrieslandCampina

FrieslandCampina was formed in 2009 by a merger between Friesland Foods and Campina, creating the second largest dairy co-operative in the world with 21,000 employees, offices in 28 countries and selling to 100 countries worldwide.

Client: FrieslandCampina

Sector: Food Manufacturing

Initiative: Fast-track leadership development

Overview: Developing 270 future leaders over a 12-18 month period, interweaving work-based initiatives with catalytic leadership development experiences.


An ambitious and strategically important initiative for one of the world’s largest dairy co-operatives. Fast-track talent development programs and development of high potential leaders, enabling the organization to build its international leadership capability and stimulating the significant culture change envisioned in FrieslandCampina’s route2020 strategy.

The Challenge

  • Culture change needed to strengthen performance and innovation across the organization
  • Desire to develop a strong, internationally mobile leadership capability
  • Find profitable new ways to utilize milk in an already saturated home market.

The Solution

We co-created an initiative to address these challenges and work at multiple levels.

Participating managers experiencedmultiple workplace development opportunities interweaved with major catalytic leadership events.

The program set the scene for on-going learning, deep-rooted personal growth and change.

The process is highly experiential and profoundly personal, and was designed to both mirror and stimulate the spirit of a new cultural energy at FrieslandCampina. It blends the development of human potential with real life experiences.

Furthermore, there is a structured program of workplace challenges which ensures high levels of learning transfer and supports the development work.

The Impact

Multiple examples of impact, new initiatives and innovation have emerged from the program including a new route to market in Saudi Arabia, securing new customers in Vietnam and the creation of a CSR ambassadors’ network.

As the process moves forward, future leaders have continued to be placed in pivotal positions across the organization and are making vertical career moves, all designed to expand the scope of their responsibilities and fast-track them to future leadership roles. 30 months into the program 47% of the future leaders had moved into new roles.

Willem van der Lee

“Future leaders, for the first time, deeply feel their responsibility. They have connected to their future role and its potential impact, and started working out for themselves how they must now develop and grow to meet the challenge. They have also emerged greater advocates of the organization, our values, members and products.”

Willem van der Lee

Corporate Director of Talent & Leadership Development, FrieslandCampina

Lindsey Masson

“This process takes future leaders on a true discovery journey and offers catalytic experiences to bring the outside in, create possibilities and expand global mind sets. It generates a sense of personal responsibility, shifting assumptions about what is and what is not possible at both a very personal and organizational level.”

Lindsey Masson

Client Director, Ashridge Hult Executive Education

Cows in a field at dawn

Hult International Business School
Hult International Business School 
Ashridge Executive Education