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NEW QUAKER BOSS TO STICK WITH TACTICS USED AT KRAFT: MORRISON ARRIVES AS COMPANY AIMS FOR EFFICIENCY

By Published on .

Robert Morrison said that as the new chairman, president and CEO of Quaker Oats Co. his way of operating won't change from what he did in the top spot at Kraft Foods.

Mr. Morrison, named last week, told Wall Street analysts that "I don't see a big distinction between building brands and cutting costs." He said that "If I have to get earnings up . . . I invest the funds to build volume and take unnecessary expenses out of operations."

He added, "At Kraft, we got the costs out, shed unproductive assets, focused on core businesses, and the earnings growth was strong to exceptional. . . . My basic concept won't change."

Mr. Morrison, 55, succeeds William Smithburg, who announced his intention to resign six months ago, following the debacle of selling Snapple for $300 million only a few years after buying it for $1.7 billion.

WORKING FOR EFFICIENCY

Quaker has been trying to become more efficient in its marketing spending. The company said it cut ad and marketing spending 1% for ready-to-eat cereals for the third quarter.

But Doug Mills, exec VP of the U.S. & Canadian Foods division, said the overall unit raised spending in the last year by $25 million.

"Across the board, spending has been equal to or higher" than the second quarter, with the exception of cereal, he said. "The key is spending at the right level to [enhance] marketing performance."

Coming increases in ad spending will support a line of new snack products the company won't discuss beyond saying, "the key to snacks is innovation."

Mr. Morrison is "a nice catch for Quaker," said Ron Bess, president of Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, the only agency on both the Kraft and Quaker rosters. "He has a very strong marketing orientation."

P&G EXPERIENCE

Moreover, he noted, Mr. Morrison is a former executive at Procter & Gamble Co., "a company that puts the advertising development role of the brand leadership at the top of their corporate hierarchy."

Succeeding Mr. Morrison at Kraft is Robert Eckert, 43, formerly group VP in charge of marketing services, sales, technology, operations and customer service. Mr. Eckert now takes the title of president-CEO, putting him in line

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