Kraft Undergoes Major Marketing Shakeup

Several Longtime Executives Exit as Company Names Its First CMO

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NEW YORK ( -- Kraft Foods CEO Irene Rosenfeld is shaking up the marketing ranks at North America's largest food company, naming the company's first-ever chief marketing officer in a move that ousts some longtime executives.
Kraft Foods CEO Irene Rosenfeld is shaking up the executive suite.
Kraft Foods CEO Irene Rosenfeld is shaking up the executive suite.

Speed and decisiveness
The swift moves by Ms. Rosenfeld at the $34 billion behemoth are aimed at showing the speed and decisiveness of the "new" Kraft Foods she has helmed since replacing former CEO Roger Deromedi in June.

Jeri Finard, 46, formerly exec VP-global category development, becomes CMO effective immediately at the company, which spends more than $1 billion in media annually. Paula Sneed, 58, currently exec VP-global marketing resources and initiatives and one of the company's most public marketing executives, will leave Kraft after a transition period. Ms. Sneed last year ranked No. 27 on Advertising Age's Power Players list.

Ms. Finard will also take over the company's Global Marketing Resources and Initiatives Group and global category development. Linda Hefner, 47, exec VP-global strategy and business development, will likewise depart Kraft.

Others moving up
On the rise are David Brearton, 45, tapped as exec VP-global business services and strategy (he was formerly senior VP-business process simplification and corporate controller), and Rick Searer, 53, who is currently group VP-president of Kraft's North American convenient-meals sector. Mr. Searer will succeed Dave Johnson, 49, exec VP-president of Kraft's North America Commercial, who is leaving the company.

The new team, according to a statement by Ms. Rosenfeld, was chosen to be "bolder, more agile, more creative and more focused." The statement itself was uncharacteristically direct for Kraft. It stated, for example, that Mr. Searer will allow far more autonomy for the company's five North American sectors (beverages, cheese and dairy, snacks and cereals, convenient meals and grocery) and the North American Foodservice division than in the past.

That decentralized focus, picked up from Ms. Rosenfeld's days at PepsiCo, will hopefully add speed and accountability at Kraft, one analyst noted.
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