With only one small surprise, the board of directors at Kraft Foods Inc. on Dec. 5 announced the chairmen and chief executive officers of the two companies Kraft will split into next year.
Irene Rosenfeld, 58, current chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill., will be chairman and CEO of the global snacks company, with $31 billion in estimated revenue and a significant presence in fast-growing international markets.
W. Anthony (Tony) Vernon, 55, currently an executive vice president and president of Kraft Foods North America, will become CEO of the $17 billion North American grocery company, which should remain one of the largest food and beverage companies on the continent.
The only new name was John Cahill, 54, who will become non-executive chairman of the North American grocery company. He is a partner of private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC.
Cahill will join Kraft Foods in January to begin work on the separation. Initially, he will serve as executive chairman, “reflecting the tremendous effort required to launch and transition to a public company,” the Kraft statement said.
“Irene, John and Tony … give the board great confidence in the future of the snacks and grocery companies,” said Mark Ketchum, lead director of Kraft’s board of directors.
Rosenfeld has been CEO of Kraft Foods since 2006 and chairman since 2007. Vernon joined Kraft Foods in 2009 as president of its North American business. Before that, he spent more than 20 years with Johnson & Johnson.
Cahill has food & beverage experience, including several senior finance positions with PepsiCo and KFC. He served as chairman and CEO of Pepsi Bottling Group Inc., which separated from PepsiCo in 1999. Today, in addition to his role at Ripplewood Holdings, he serves on the boards of Colgate-Palmolive and Legg Mason.