George Zoghbi Kraft FoodsKraft Foods Group, Northfield, Ill., today announced that George Zoghbi (pictured) has been appointed to the newly created executive position of Vice Chairman, Operations, R&D, Sales and Strategy. Howard Friedman was appointed executive vice president and president, Cheese & Dairy. Both men will report directly to CEO Tony Vernon.

Kraft Foods was Dairy Foods’ Processor of the Year in 2011. In an interview with the magazine at the time, Zoghbi said he expects those who work for him to be innovators because Kraft hires smart and entrepreneurial men and women. He said it was “a responsibility” and “a privilege” to lead Kraft Foods.

Zoghbi led the Cheese & Dairy business since 2009. He joined Kraft's former parent company (now known as Mondelez International) in 2007 as vice president and area director of Australia and New Zealand where he oversaw all aspects of the regional business. Prior to joining Kraft, Zoghbi held a variety of leadership roles at Fonterra, the world's largest dairy exporter. While there, his accomplishments included driving for operational excellence, integrating several acquired businesses and delivering growth through new channels.

In a statement, Vernon said, "Kraft's future growth will be driven by a disciplined approach to new product innovation, brand renovation and expansion across sales channels, which are all fueled by effective total cost management. As Vice Chairman, George Zoghbi will help advance our growth plans by taking a strategic, holistic view of our portfolio and how we take our products from concept to store shelves."

Kraft’s statement said Zoghbi “led the business in a turnaround that has delivered outstanding top-line and bottom-line growth. Under his leadership, the Cheese & Dairy unit was the first to implement the company's Integrated Business Planning initiative that aims to strengthen sales forecasting and supply chain planning, which is now being rolled out companywide.”

Sales exec Howard Friedman was responsible for customer Wal-Mart Stores

Howard Friedman was president of sales responsible for Kraft's largest retail customer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. In addition, Friedman is a 16-year Kraft veteran and has held positions of increasing leadership responsibility in marketing, where he managed such iconic brands as Philadelphia, Kraft Singles, Jell-O and Kool-Aid. He served as senior vice president of marketing for Cheese & Dairy before moving into his current sales role