In what is being described as a surprisingly sudden shakeup, Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill. has dispensed with its co-CEO formula, and cast off Betsy Holden, leaving Roger Deromedi at the helm.

Just two years ago, there were doubts as to whether Deromedi ever would solely lead Kraft, North America's largest food company. According to the Chicago Tribune, Holden, who shared the CEO title with Deromedi, was the front-runner to take the top job all by herself.

But as the company's cookie sales crumbled, so did Holden's future with Kraft, and with nine days left until Christmas, Kraft's top shareholder, Altria Group, (formerly Philip Morris) pushed Holden into an unspecified international position and gave Deromedi the solo seat. Deromedi, 50, has a depth of financial experience, where Holden is steeped in marketing.

Kraft's stock has slid from a high of $43.95 in June 2002 to around $31, which is right were it opened when the company went public in June 2001.