Hire Wire Dec 05 2011

Kraft Names Insiders as Chiefs After Split

By ben fox rubin

Kraft Foods Inc. named two of its top executives to head its reorganized business, which is expected to split up into a North American grocery company and international snacks firm by the end of 2012.

Kraft Chief Executive Irene B. Rosenfeld, 58 years old, was named as chief executive of the new global snacks company. Rosenfeld has held the posts of Kraft chief executive s ince 2006 and chairwoman s ince 2007. She has 30 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, especially focusing on business integrations and spinoffs, including Kraft's spinoff from Altria Group Inc.

Related: Who Will Be the New Kraft King?

Executive Vice President W. Anthony Vernon, 55, who has been heading the North America business, will become chief executive of the grocery company. He joined Kraft in 2009 as president of the North American business, following over 20 years at Johnson & Johnson.

John T. Cahill, 54, an industrial partner of private-equity firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC, will become non-executive chairman of the North American grocery company. He will start as executive chairman to assist in split up and launch of the grocery business as a publicly traded company.

Kraft plans to split up into two companies: a global snack company to capitalize on growth opportunities for Oreo cookies, Trident gum and Cadbury chocolates, and a North American grocery business that will focus on fattening margins on sales of staples like Kraft cheese and Maxwell House coffee.

Despite the split up, results for the combined business remain strong in a packaged food space that has had to contend with both rising costs and a cautious consumer. Last month, Kraft said its third-quarter earnings rose, with sales up strongly following hefty price increases to offset higher costs.

This story originally appeared on WSJ.com.

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