Heads roll at Kraft Foods for 'more creative' strategy

Sept. 26, 2006
Rosenfeld’s new team consists of all promotions, after a few departures

Now that she’s unpacked and gotten comfortable, Irene Rosenfeld, Kraft Foods Inc. CEO since June, shook up top management ranks at the Northfield, Ill.-based company with a couple of promotions and a couple of departures. She said the moves will sharpen Kraft’s focus on innovation and marketing.

Rick Searer, North American president of the convenient meals sector, was named president of Kraft North America Commercial to replace Dave Johnson, who is leaving the company.

Paula Sneed, executive vice president of global marketing resources and initiatives, will leave the company after a transition period. She essentially is replaced by Jeri Finard, 46, who was named to the new post of chief marketing officer. She previously was executive vice president of global category development.

David Brearton adds only the words “and strategy” to his title but clearly moves up: He’s now executive vice president for global business services and strategy. He essentially replaces Linda Hefner, current executive vice president of global strategy and business development, who is leaving the company.

Hugh Roberts, 54, plans to retire as president of Kraft International Commercial early next year. A search has begun for his successor.

The shuffling of executives took effect immediately. "Our new team will build a Kraft that is bolder, more agile, more creative and more focused," said Rosenfeld, the former Frito-Lay executive who replaced CEO Roger Deromedi in June. "We're putting more day-to-day decision-making in the hands of our North American sectors and international regions -- the people closest to our consumers, customers and markets. And, we will focus more intensely on consumers' evolving food and beverage needs to take full advantage of our broad product portfolio and to accelerate growth."

Still no word on a complete spinoff of the food company by majority owner Altria Group Inc., which owns cigarette-maker Philip Morris.

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