Business Strategies / Industry News

Kraft Continues to Shake the Executive Ranks

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

Feb 16, 2015

Kraft Foods Group Inc. in mid-February made several more management changes "that will position the company for future growth and success," the announcement said. Teri List-Stoll, chief financial officer; Deanie Elsner, chief marketing officer; and Chuck Davis, executive vice president of research, development, quality and innovation, will be departing the company.

George Zoghbi, currently vice chairman of operations, R&D, sales and strategy, was named chief operating officer. Chris Kempczinski, who currently leads Kraft’s Canada business unit, will assume an expanded role as executive vice president of growth initiatives and president of international. Both appointments were effective immediately and both report to Chairman and CEO John Cahill.

"The newly created leadership positions reflect Kraft’s commitment to accelerating the pace of change and improving execution, and will support the development of a plan that puts the company on a clear path to long-term sustainable growth," the announcement said.

The company said a CFO will be appointed later, and the CMO role will be taken on an interim basis by Jane Hilk, an executive vice president and president of enhancers & snack nuts.

While Davis, head of R&D, already has been pointed toward the door, he will remain with the company and report to Zoghbi until a successor is named.

All the changes were engineered by Cahill, who took over the CEO role when Tony Vernon "suddenly" retired on Dec. 27. Cahill joined Kraft in 2012, as executive chairman designate-North American Grocery and became executive chairman at its split with Mondelez. He transitioned to a non-executive chairman role early last year. He spent nine years with Pepsi Bottling Group, most recently as chairman and CEO from 2003-2006 and as executive chairman until 2007. He spent the prior nine years at PepsiCo Inc. in a variety of leadership positions.

The February announcement said Cahill "will take the next few months to work with the management team, get immersed in the business and spend time with the company’s teams, customers and other business partners to develop a well-informed, comprehensive plan forward."