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FORMER KRAFT CO-CEO TO LEAVE FOOD GIANT

Betsy Holden Steps Down 18 Months After Demotion

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- A year and a half after Roger Deromedi took the full reigns at Kraft and Betsy Holden was demoted from co-CEO and head of the food behemoth's North American business to take on the ill-defined role of president of global marketing and category development, the 23-year veteran of the company has resigned, effective June 30.
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Analysts were surprised only that it took so long for the ousted executive to depart from Kraft Foods.

Sabbatical
In a statement, Kraft offered the reasoning that Ms. Holden will take a 9- to 12-month sabbatical to spend time with her family before resuming her career elsewhere. The same statement virtually acknowledges the nebulous role Ms. Holden has played at the company by noting that Paula Sneed, formerly senior vice president of marketing resources, will "continue to provide worldwide leadership and oversight of marketing resources" under the new title of executive vice president for global marketing resources and initiatives.

Mr. Deromedi was formerly co-CEO and head of Kraft Foods International before becoming the food company's sole chief executive in December 2003. The following month Kraft announced Ms. Holden would report to Mr. Deromedi as the company's new president of global marketing and category development.

Helped the company
While Wall Street was unanimous in its reaction of surprise that Ms. Holden stayed on as long as she did after losing the co-CEO role, one food analyst offered that her position over the last year and a half has helped the company.

“[Ms. Holden] stayed on in a high-profile role to help get the global marketing organization going as well as many of Kraft’s health and wellness initiatives, and on both counts Kraft is on firmer footing today than it was then,” he said.

The analyst said Ms. Holden’s marketing and innovation acumen were hallmarks of her career but nevertheless added that the former Advertising Age Power Player’s departure is “not a big deal for the stock.”

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