Bloomberg News

Kraft Said to Hire Heidrick in Search for Grocery Spinoff’s CEO

October 05, 2011

Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Kraft Foods Inc., the foodmaker splitting into two companies at the end of next year, hired Heidrick & Struggles International Inc. to find external candidates to lead its North American grocery spinoff, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Kraft’s board also is considering internal candidates to run the $16 billion grocery company, said the people, who declined to be identified because the search is private.

“Our board of directors is carrying out its fiduciary duties, following a disciplined process before appointing the leaders of the two companies,” Mike Mitchell, a Kraft spokesman, said in an e-mail. “We have an incredibly talented team and a very deep bench of leaders around the world.”

Jen Nelson, an Atlanta-based spokeswoman for Heidrick & Struggles, declined to comment.

Kraft, the world’s second-largest food company, is splitting up to help the snacks business push products into emerging markets and make additional acquisitions while the slower-growing, higher-margin grocery business expands in the U.S. and returns cash to shareholders.

The North American grocery division is currently headed by Anthony Vernon, who joined Kraft in 2009. The entity will include the U.S. beverages, cheese, convenient meals and grocery units and some other food items, featuring brands such as Oscar Mayer meats and Maxwell House coffee.

The spinoff will leave a global snacks and candy business with $32 billion in revenue from brands like Cadbury chocolate and Oreo cookies, Kraft said in August. Chief Executive Officer Irene Rosenfeld said last month that she will hold a leadership role in one of the two companies. Rosenfeld is likely to lead the snacks company, said Ed Aaron, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in Denver.

Kraft fell 18 cents to $32.68 at 3:20 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The Northfield, Illinois-based company’s shares rose 4.3 percent this year through yesterday. Chicago-based Heidrick & Struggles dropped 61 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $17.42.

--Editors: Kevin Orland, Robin Ajello

-0- Oct/05/2011 19:27 GMT

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Boyle in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at -0- Sep/29/2011 19:16 GMT

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