Richard H. Lenny, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Hershey Foods Corporation, announced changes to the Hershey executive team.
Frank Cerminara, senior vice president, chief financial officer, will retire effective December 31, 2005. Succeeding Cerminara will be David J. West, senior vice president, chief customer officer. West begins his new role as CFO on January 1, 2005. Cerminara will work with West during 2005 to ensure an orderly transition.
Christopher J. Baldwin has been named senior vice president, global chief customer officer, effective October 25, 2004. Baldwin joins Hershey from Kraft Foods Inc., where he was national vice president, Field Sales and Logistics.
In making the announcement, Lenny said, "Frank has been a driving force at Hershey for more than 30 years across many disciplines. As chief financial officer, Frank has played a key role in helping to shape today's successful business and in positioning Hershey for continued future growth. His leadership has been particularly valuable in ensuring that Hershey's financial controls meet today's higher disclosure and accountability standards. I'm personally grateful for Frank's dedication, counsel and commitment. Hershey will continue to benefit from his experience through the transition."
Commenting on his decision to retire, Cerminara said, "It has been a privilege for me to work for such an outstanding company my entire career. I am pleased to be leaving at a time when the company has been revitalized, is performing superbly in the marketplace and is rewarding our stockholders. I believe that Hershey has never been better prepared to meet the challenges of the future than we are today. It has been especially gratifying to have been CFO under the exceptional leadership provided by Rick Lenny. I have enormous admiration for Rick as an excellent builder of brands and developer of people."
West joined Hershey Foods in May 2001 as vice president, Business Planning and Development. He became senior vice president, Business Planning and Development, in 2002 and senior vice president, Sales, in 2002, prior to being named to his current position in 2004.
"Dave's extensive background in all aspects of finance, coupled with his highly effective leadership of our selling organization, makes him well prepared for the position of chief financial officer," Lenny said. "Dave's been instrumental in the development of Hershey's strategic direction and in its solid execution. His insights, broad experience within Hershey and inspired leadership will ensure that Hershey continues to succeed from both a marketplace and financial standpoint."
Prior to joining Hershey Foods, West was senior vice president, Finance, Kraft Foods-Nabisco Biscuit, Confectionery and Snacks, with responsibility for leading the accounting, reporting and planning function of Kraft Foods' biscuits, confections and snacks businesses. Prior to Nabisco's acquisition by Kraft, West was senior vice president and chief financial officer, Nabisco Biscuit Company. He joined Nabisco in 1987 and held a variety of positions during his 14-year career with the company, including vice president, Corporate Strategy and Business Planning; director, Investment Analysis; director, General Accounting; and vice president/controller, Stella D'oro.
Prior to joining Nabisco, he held positions in finance and cost accounting with Wearever Proctor-Silex and Unisys.
Baldwin will report directly to Lenny and become a member of the Hershey executive team. "Chris is a tremendous addition to Hershey's top management team," Lenny said. "He brings a stellar track record of accomplishments across multiple customer channels and packaged consumer goods segments. Throughout his career, Chris has excelled in all essential areas, including field sales, customer marketing, logistics and organizational development. Chris' vast experience and energetic, focused leadership will be invaluable as we continue to build Hershey's superior selling capabilities and further capitalize on the immense growth opportunities in the rapidly changing retail environment."
Prior to his current position, Baldwin served as national vice president, Sales and Logistics, Kraft Foods; as vice president, Sales and Logistics, Nabisco Biscuit; and as vice president Sales, Nabisco Biscuit and Snacks. Baldwin held a variety of sales leadership positions with Nabisco prior to its acquisition by Kraft. Before joining Nabisco, Baldwin worked at Procter & Gamble in a number of sales positions from 1985 through 1996.