Bulcke, who has served as CEO for more than eight years, is stepping aside to take a new job as board chairman, after Peter Brabeck-Letmathe decided not to stand for re-election next year in line with Nestle's articles of association, the company said Monday.
Schneider, a 50-year old with dual German and U.S. citizenship, is due to take the helm of the Vevey, Switzerland-based company on Jan. 1.
Nestle's board gave its unanimous backing for the appointment at a special board meeting Monday, where it also reconfirmed Nestle's long-term vision as a nutrition, health and wellness company. As part of that move, Nestle health science and skin divisions are to become fully integrated into the Nestle organization, reporting directly to the group CEO starting on his arrival, it said.
Schneider comes from a healthcare background, having served as CEO of Germany's Fresenius Group (FMS) - Get Report since 2003. Besides holding graduate and doctoral degrees at Switzerland's University of St. Gallen, Schneider has an MBA from Harvard Business School.
"I am honored and exited to have the opportunity to join Nestle," Schneider said in Monday's announcement. "This is a truly iconic global company with a proud heritage and tremendous future prospects."
Nestle makes KitKat chocolate bars and Nescafe and Nespresso coffees. Its shares closed 0.6% lower Monday in Zurich at Sfr71.10, giving it a market value of around Sfr223.3 billion ($228.63 billion). The stock is up 5.1% over a year ago.