Mr. Horst succeeds Mike Wege, who has been appointed senior VP-chief administrative officer. In that role Mr. Wege will "continue to lead the company's global organizational agility and growth initiative and other strategic projects for the company," according to a Hershey statement.
Mr. Horst was most recently senior VP for brand marketing at Capital One Financial Corp and previously was was CMO for Capital One Bank. He has also spent time at General Mills, Verizon Business Online and Ameritrade.
"Peter is a seasoned marketing leader who has the skills, experience and proven track record to continue to evolve our marketing organization, build our iconic brands and drive global growth for the company," J.P. Bilbrey, chairman, president and CEO of Hershey Co., said in a statement.
Hershey is in need of some global momentum as its sales in China have fallen short of expectations. Its struggles in China prompted the candy giant in June to lower its full-year net sales growth estimate to 4% to 5%, down from the previous estimate of 6% to 7% growth. The forecast excludes unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates.
The company also announced a cost-cutting initiative in June that is expected to yield $65 million to $75 million in savings, mostly in 2016, and result in the elimination of 300 jobs by the end of this year. Hershey's plans include investing a portion of the savings into brand-building.
The company's U.S. ad spending fell 2.8% in 2014 to $744.9 million, ranking it as the nation's 60th-largest ad spender, according to the Ad Age DataCenter.
In April, Hershey expanded its creative agency roster, adding Anomaly, New York; Barkley, Kansas City; and Argonaut, San Francisco. Incumbents Arnold Worldwide and Havas Worldwide were retained.