TWO TOP KRAFT EXECS OUT IN APPARENT SHAKEUP
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In a surprising shakeup, Kraft Foods said two top veterans are leaving the $30 billion food giant.
Irene D. Rosenfeld, president of North American business, and Michael Polk, group vice president and president of biscuits, snacks and confectionery, had a combined 38 years with Kraft. A replacement has already been named for Mr. Polk.
Polk to Unilever
Meanwhile, Unilever Bestfoods North America announced that Mr. Polk will be joining that $4 billion company as senior vice president of marketing and chief operating officer.
Mr. Polk, 42, worked at Kraft for 16 years and was credited by Unilever for shepherding the integration of Nabisco and Kraft. "We are delighted," said John W. Rice, Unilever president-CEO in a statement. "His terrific knowledge of the food industry should prove a great asset to our business."
New product development
Ms. Rosenfeld, named to her current Kraft post in October 2002, was charged with new product development and captained a new retail program to compensate retailers for getting Kraft's new products to shelf faster. A onetime Saatchi & Saatchi executive, Ms. Rosenfeld joined Kraft in 1981 and served in posts including exec vice president and general manager of desserts, manager of beverages and president of Kraft Canada.
Mr. Polk, named to Advertising Age's Marketing 100 in 1996, joined Kraft in 1987 and has held positions as president-Asia Pacific for Kraft Foods International and executive vice president and general manager of Post cereals. As category director of Maxwell House, he orchestrated a program that trimmed promotion spending by $40 million and rerouted the total into advertising. Mr. Polk, who assumed his current post in March 2001, was responsible for a division that provided half of Kraft Foods North American total revenue.
In a statement, Betsy D. Holden, president-CEO of Kraft Foods North America, said, "We thank Irene and Mike for their many contributions and wish them well."
Daryl G. Brewster
Kraft named Daryl G. Brewster, 46, to succeed Mr. Polk. Mr. Brewster had been group vice president of Kraft Foods North America and president of Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Lance A. Friedmann, 47, executive vice president of Kraft Foods North America and area director of Mexico and Puerto Rico, becomes group vice president for Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico and Health & Wellness, leading the company's obesity initiative.
Kraft spent more than $1 billion on U.S. food advertising last year. Its agencies include Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett Co. and WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Young & Rubicam and Ogilvy & Mather.