Kraft names leadership of new companies

Mon Dec 5, 2011 12:25pm EST

Irene Rosenfeld, Kraft Chairman and Chief Executive speaks to Reuters during a interview in Paris May 21, 2010.   To match interview KRAFT/         REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

Irene Rosenfeld, Kraft Chairman and Chief Executive speaks to Reuters during a interview in Paris May 21, 2010. To match interview KRAFT/

Credit: Reuters/Jacky Naegelen

(Reuters) - Kraft Foods Inc KFT.N named its chief executive, Irene Rosenfeld, to lead its snacks business and Kraft North America President Anthony Vernon to lead its North American grocery business when it splits in two next year.

The largest North American packaged food maker also said on Monday that John Cahill, currently a partner at Ripplewood Holdings, would join the company and become non-executive chairman of the North American grocery company.

Cahill is due to join Kraft in January as executive chairman, and serve in that role until the spin-off.

Before joining Ripplewood, a private equity firm, Cahill held senior finance positions at PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N) and was involved in the 1999 spin-off of Pepsi Bottling Group. He later served as the bottler's chairman and CEO.

Credit Suisse analyst Robert Moscow said the naming of Rosenfeld and Vernon was not surprising, and that the appointment of Cahill was "a huge positive," given his reputation as a "top-tier executive" and his experience separating Pepsi Bottling from PepsiCo.

"Something as sensitive as this, where you're splitting apart two companies, it's a great idea to have someone who can focus so intensely on making that separation happen flawlessly," Moscow said.

Kraft said Vernon would lead the grocery business as CEO, while Cahill, as chairman, would focus on "public company, financial and strategic matters."

Some investors saw the appointment of Cahill, 54, as a sign that the grocery business, with brands like Oscar Mayer lunch meat and Kraft cheese, could eventually be in play given his private equity background, said Bernstein Research analyst Alexia Howard.

However, Howard wrote in a research note that she believed his appointment had "much more to do with his experience" in the separation of Pepsi Bottling from PepsiCo.

Kraft also said it still expects to complete the spin-off by the end of 2012.

Rosenfeld, 58, has been CEO of Kraft since 2006 and is credited with integrating Nabisco, leading Kraft through its spin-off from Altria Group Inc (MO.N) and acquiring Lu biscuits and Cadbury candy. She was widely expected to lead the snack business.

Vernon, 55, joined Kraft in 2009.

Kraft shares were up 2 cents at $36.52 on the New York Stock Exchange in midday trading.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Derek Caney and Gerald E. McCormick)

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Comments (2)
ErnestPayne wrote:
That’s nice. Does Kraft produce any product that people with health problems can actually eat?

Dec 05, 2011 11:25am EST  --  Report as abuse
SuefromSault wrote:
Depends on what you mean by health problems
Certainly people with heart problems, diabetes,
auto immune problems and just regular allergies
(especially to artificial sweeteners labeled “natural”)
should avoid their products but otherwise go for it! (Until you develop one of the above from eating the junk). Just look at the pix of
Ms. Irene Rosenfeld, above, bet she eats it!.

Dec 05, 2011 11:57am EST  --  Report as abuse
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