NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Citing commuting issues among other personal problems, Kraft Foods today announed that its first chief marketing officer, Jeri Finard, will leave after little more than six months on the job.
The abrupt departure surprised many employees, who received a memo simultaneous with the public release of the information. "I've heard nothing but glowing reviews [of Ms. Finard]," one Kraft executive said.
One agency executive close to to the marketer in September called Ms. Finard, a longtime Kraft executive who before her CMO role was exec VP-global category development, "incredibly popular, a phenomenal marketer and someone who, like [Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld] will make big, bold decisions." Losing her will likely be considered a setback to Wall Street analysts.
An internal and external search is said to be under way for Ms. Finard's direct replacement. According to Kraft's announcement, Ms. Finard has, in her short tenure, put a strong team in place. Ms. Rosenfeld said the CMO has helped "set Kraft on a new path toward greater innovation."
An internal memo noted that Ms. Finard would be leaving following a transition period through mid-May for "personal reasons," adding that among those reasons was the difficulty of frequent travel between New York and Chicago.