Mary Beth West to Lead Marketing at Kraft's Snacks Spin-Off

Michael Hsu to Become Chief Commercial Officer of North American Grocery

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Kraft Foods has picked a pair of internal candidates to lead marketing at the two new companies it will form at the end of the year.

Mary Beth West
Mary Beth West
Chief Marketing Officer Mary Beth West will keep the same role at the planned global snacks company, Kraft said in a regulatory filing today. Michael Hsu, now Kraft North America's president of sales, customer marketing and logistics, will become chief commercial officer at the planned North American grocery business. In the new role, he will oversee marketing in addition to U.S. sales, foodservice and export markets, including Puerto Rico, according to the filing.

Kraft announced the planned split last year as a move to bring more focus to its brands. The $31 billion global snacks business will be home to fast-growing international brands such as Oreo. The $17 billion grocery business will be dominated by slower-growing, commodity-based products not suited for global markets, such as Oscar Mayer. The split is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.

The appointment of internal candidates suggests that Kraft is not planning wholesale marketing changes, at least not in the short term. It "sounds like it's more or less business as usual," said Erin Lash, who covers the company for Morningstar.

In her new role, Ms. West will join Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld, who was picked as the snack company's top executive in an announcement late last year. The grocery company will be led by Tony Vernon, who now serves as exec VP-Kraft Foods North America.

Ms. West is a longtime Kraft employee who assumed the CMO role in 2007. Mr. Hsu joined Kraft in 2008 from H.J. Heinz, where he was president of its USA Foodservice division. He has been Kraft 's president for sales, customer marketing and logistics since 2010, overseeing functions that include retail sales, customer service and distribution.

Today's marketing appointments were accompanied by other personnel moves, including appointing Kraft chief financial officer David Brearton as CFO of the global snacks company. The CFO of the grocery company will be Timothy McLevish, who had been Kraft 's CFO until last year. He stayed at Kraft and now serves as chairman of the Project Management Office for the pending spin-off.

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