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.”
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