Deromedi Out At Kraft

Rosenfeld sees a ‘bright future’ upon return as CEO in advance of split from Altria.

Three years after leaving Kraft Foods Inc., when she was second to ill-fated chief executive Betsy Holden, Irene Rosenfeld has been appointed to lead the international food company that is also the second-largest dairy processor in the United States.
The Northfield, Ill.-based company’s board of directors appointed Rosenfeld chief executive officer to immediately replace Roger Deromedi, who has mutually agreed with the board to leave the company to pursue other interests, Kraft announced in a press release.
Rosenfeld, who spent more than 20 years at Kraft in a number of top positions and was a key player in the company’s acquisition of Nabisco, was most recently chairman and chief executive officer of Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo. “I am deeply honored to lead Kraft in the years ahead,” she said. “I genuinely love this company, its brands, its people and its values. I believe that we have a very bright future ahead of us and look forward to working with the board and our management team to assure Kraft’s leadership in the food and beverage industry.”
Kraft chairman Louis Camilleri expressed his confidence in Rosenfeld to guide the company’s future growth. “Irene is one of the most talented and respected executives in the consumer goods industry and we are thrilled that she is coming home to Kraft. She has repeatedly demonstrated her ability to drive innovation throughout her career,” he said. “Irene has a wealth of experience in all of Kraft’s businesses and is uniquely qualified to lead Kraft during these challenging and exciting times.”
Before joining Frito-Lay in 2004, Rosenfeld spent two decades with Kraft and General Foods, culminating in her appointment as president of Kraft’s North American business.
Camilleri thanked Deromedi for the work done during his tenure. “As CEO of Kraft, Roger brought a global perspective, emphasized a commitment to acting responsibly and charted a course for growth that, I believe, will benefit Kraft for years to come,” he said.
Holden, once considered one of the most powerful women in U.S. business, was co-CEO with Deromedi until she was demoted two years ago, leaving Deromedi in sole control; she left the company last summer. Management missteps by both resulted in problems for a company that, as it continues to fight off advances by private label products, is now in the midst of restructuring. With separation from parent company Altria Group expected in the coming months, Kraft plans to close up to 40 plants and eliminate 14,000 jobs over the next two years.
“While the fundamentals of the business continue to improve,” Camilleri said, “we are confident that Irene will accelerate the execution of Kraft’s growth strategy, build value for shareholders and lead Kraft when it becomes a fully independent company.”
Pmage makers
Product and promotion news
This summer, Le Mars, Iowa-based Wells’ Dairy Inc. aimed to find America’s biggest “Ice Creamaniacs.” To enter the search, ice cream enthusiasts logged on to the Blue Bunny Web site and explained their passion for ice cream and frozen novelties in 500 words or less. Entrants were encouraged to submit stories, photos and videos to convince the manufacturers of Blue Bunny how much they love ice cream. “Through consumer research, we know that nearly one in five Americans eats ice cream or frozen novelties in bed, and one in 10 Americans eats ice cream or frozen novelties for breakfast,” says Dave Smetter, director of marketing communications for Wells’ Dairy. “Through this program, we’re searching high and low for real life stories of Americans who are this fanatical about their ice cream.” The deadline for entries was June 30; submissions were to be judged by a panel of ice cream aficionados at Blue Bunny’s corporate headquarters. Finalists were expected to be announced online during National Ice Cream Month in July, at which point the public will be invited to vote for the country’s most passionate Ice Creamaniacs.
Model Dairy, Reno, Nev., last month celebrated 100 years of serving Northern Nevada residents. The day’s activities included three separate events beginning with a town hall meeting, followed by the official ceremony and ending with a community party, at which the general public was invited to participate in additional activities such as facility tours, entertainment and a “got milk?” tour. The “100 Years Model Dairy” celebration also served as the platform for launching a new community initiative called “Rise to the Top.”  Model Dairy and the Education Foundation announced during the official ceremony a three-tiered Literacy Initiative designed to support literacy. “More than 10 million children in the Unites States have difficulty reading,” says Jim Breslin, general manager for Model Dairy, owned by Dean Foods. “With such overwhelming numbers, illiteracy is evolving into an epidemic that is quickly eroding our communities and negatively impacting our economy. This is an opportunity for Model Dairy to lead the charge in helping children develop intellectually, to the ultimate benefit of our entire community.” The goals for the “Rise to the Top” literacy program include the donation of  $60,000 for more reading materials in Washoe County schools and libraries, encouragement of children to read 10,000 books during the 2006-07 school year, and the collection of 100 books for every year Model Dairy has been in business, totaling 10,000 books. Geno Martini and Robert Cashell, the mayors of Sparks and Reno, commemorated the 100th anniversary of Model Dairy by presenting Model general manager Jim Breslin with proclamations declaring June 14, 2006, as Model Dairy Day.
Edy’s Grand Ice Cream, Stop & Shop and Giant Food hosted “Ice Cream Day” on June 10, when Edy’s offered a free scoop of Edy’s Grand Ice Cream at all Stop & Shop locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, and at all Giant Food locations in Delaware; Maryland; Washington, D.C.; and Virginia, to customers who donated $1 to organizations dedicated to pediatric cancer research and care. The event coincided with Stop & Shop’s and Giant’s Triple Winner Game, a scratch-card promotion in which every ticket was an instant winner of either a free product, a gift card or cash prize up to $10,000. The program allowed customers who made a $1 donation in any Stop & Shop or Giant Food store to receive a Triple Winner Game ticket. Triple Winner raised more than $6.5 million in 2006 to fight pediatric cancer. To further support Triple Winner, Edy’s Grand Ice Cream has manufactured 100,000 cartons of Triple Winner Neapolitan, a new limited-edition flavor available only at Stop & Shop and Giant Food stores. Edy’s will donate 25 cents to pediatric cancer charities for each carton Triple Winner Neapolitan that is sold. Between Ice Cream Day and Triple Winner Neapolitan, Edy’s expects to raise $100,000 for pediatric cancer charities.
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