The company has been in turmoil this year, with disappointing sales results, board disagreements over a possible sale of the company and numerous resignations. Former CEO Richard Lenny announced his retirement in October and a massive board walkout followed in mid-November. Since then, the company's chief people officer, Marcella K. Arline, and Mr. Hernquist have also resigned.
"Michele will bring company-wide focus to areas that are crucial for our long-term success, including global insights, marketing excellence and platform innovation," said David J. West, who replaced Mr. Lenny as president-CEO. Former Hershey CEO Kenneth L. Wolfe is taking Mr. Lenny's place as chairman.
Ms. Buck joined Hershey in 2005, and is currently senior VP-chief marketing officer, U.S. As global CMO, Ms. Buck will helm efforts in consumer insights, portfolio strategy and innovation, and corporate social responsibility, among other duties. She will report to Mr. West.
Ms. Buck has her work cut out for her. The company's most recent efforts to move up-market, with products such as its Cacao Reserve, have been unsuccessful, while rival Mars continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
"She will be instrumental in our efforts to capitalize on growth opportunities in the marketplace by delivering sustainable, insight-driven innovation across our portfolio," Mr. West said. "Michele's background in marketing leadership and her confectionery expertise will be tremendous assets as we align our innovation capabilities with Hershey's sales and marketing organizations."
Hershey's agencies are Arnold Worldwide, New York, and North Castle, Stamford, Conn. The company spent $99 million on advertising in 2006, and $90 million in the first nine months of 2007, according to TNS Media Intelligence.