Kraft foods CEO Morrison resigns

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Kraft Foods CEO Robert Morrison resigned without warning, leaving speculation rife that he will be going to Quaker Oats Co. to succeed William Smithburg as Chairman-CEO. Quaker is scheduled to have a conference call with analysts early Thursday, Oct. 23. Kraft, meanwhile, appointed Group VP Robert Eckert, 43, to president-CEO. Mr. Eckert has been group VP since August, with responsibility for domestic marketing services, operations, sales, customer service technology and foodservice and had previously been president of the Oscar Mayer Foods unit. With the move, Mr. Eckert assumes the top slot in domestic operations at Kraft; John Bowlin is president-CEO of Kraft Foods International. Both executives report to William Webb, chief operating officer of parent Philip Morris Cos.

PM said only that Mr. Morrison, 55, a 13-year veteran at Kraft, gave notice suddenly last night and wouldn't comment on his future plans. ``We thank Bob Morrison for his many contributions to the corporation and wish him continued success in his future endeavors,'' said Mr. Webb.

Of Mr. Eckert, he said, ``He is representative of the depth of talent we have in the company and is well prepared to provide the seamless ledership that has been a cornerstone of Kraft's success.''

Mr. Eckert's post of group VP won't be filled.

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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