The move comes as CEO and newly appointed chairman Irene Rosenfeld readies the company for a final split from parent Altria, and is under the gun to prove to Wall Street she can help drive the soon-to-be-independent Kraft back to growth through innovation and marketing.
According to a note following Kraft's fourth-quarter earnings guidance to analysts yesterday, Lehman Bros. analyst Andrew Lazar said he "inferred from CEO Irene Rosenfeld's comments that the business is still in need of incremental marketing investment -- even over and above the spending increases of the past few years."
He said that Kraft's advertising levels remain well below its competitors in the food industry, which he predicts will have a negative affect on 2007 earnings.
Ms. Irgang, who most recently served as president of consultant Red Shoes Marketing, has been working on a freelance basis with Ms. Finard over the past six months on projects including development of strategy for the company's Tassimo brand. Ms. Irgang was global account director for Procter & Gamble at Grey Advertising; she was at the agency for 18 years.
According to an executive close to Kraft, Ms. Irgang's appointment is part of Ms. Finard's new marketing-services organization, which intends to take a more holistic approach to media than Kraft has in the past. Each Kraft division now includes an integrated marketing communications director, who will now report in to Ms. Irgang.