Kraft Foods Group, Inc. announced management changes that will position the company for future growth and success. George Zoghbi, currently Vice Chairman, Operations, R&D, Sales and Strategy, has been named Chief Operating Officer. The company also announced that Chris Kempczinski, who currently leads Kraft's Canada business unit, will assume an expanded role as Executive Vice President of Growth Initiatives and President of International. Both management appointments are effective immediately and will report to Chairman and CEO John T. Cahill.
The newly created leadership positions reflect Kraft's commitment to accelerating the pace of change and improving execution, and will support the development of a plan that puts the company on a clear path to long-term sustainable growth.
As Kraft's COO, Mr. Zoghbi will oversee the company's U.S. business units and the teams that drive growth across Kraft, including sales and marketing services. He will continue to lead Kraft's integrated supply chain, working closely across all operations to make appropriate investment decisions, drive productivity and deliver strong execution of the company's innovation and brand marketing plans.
Mr. Cahill said, "George has led some of the most critical areas of our business and has a proven track record of strong execution and delivering growth. I am confident he is the right person to take on this new role, and I look forward to working closely with him as we develop and execute a business strategy that accelerates Kraft's journey to sustainable, profitable growth."
"I'm honored to be appointed Chief Operating Officer of this great company," added Mr. Zoghbi. "Together with John and the entire management team, I'm excited to focus on delivering innovation that reflects the evolving needs of our consumers and develop clear goals and strategies to rejuvenate the iconic brands consumers love and trust."
In the newly created role of EVP of Growth Initiatives and President of International, Mr. Kempczinski will work closely with Mr. Zoghbi to formulate strategy, including M&A, and develop and deploy innovation platforms for Kraft's sustainable growth. He will continue to lead Kraft Canada and will use his deep marketing and industry experience in his new responsibilities overseeing Kraft's international markets, including Exports.
"During his time with Kraft Canada, Chris has led the business unit through transformative change, with a keen focus on execution and innovation. His expertise will be invaluable as we continue to build a stronger Kraft," said Mr. Cahill.
As part of its leadership changes, the company also announced that Teri List-Stoll, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will be leaving the role effective Feb. 28, 2015. Ms. List-Stoll has been with Kraft since Sept. 2013 and led the company's financial operations, including accounting and reporting, financial planning, treasury, tax, audit and investor relations. Ms. List-Stoll will continue to serve the company as a senior advisor to ensure a smooth transition. The finance function will report directly to Mr. Cahill until a CFO is appointed.
"I thank Teri for her efforts overseeing Kraft's financial operations and strong financial team, which are instrumental to the company's success," Mr. Cahill said. "I sincerely appreciate her contributions to our company."
Kraft also announced that Deanie Elsner, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, will be leaving the organization effective Feb. 28, 2015. Marketing remains critically important to the company and will move closer to the business operations, in order to sharpen focus and more effectively ignite brand rejuvenation. Jane Hilk, Executive Vice President and President, Enhancers & Snack Nuts, has been appointed interim CMO. Ms. Hilk has held marketing leadership positions across the majority of the company's product categories and launched ground-breaking advertising campaigns for flagship brands including Oscar Mayer, Planters and Kraft Singles. A senior marketing executive will be named in due course to continue developing and enhancing Kraft's marketing capabilities and will report to Mr. Zoghbi.
Additionally, Chuck Davis, Executive Vice President of Research, Development, Quality and Innovation, will be leaving Kraft. He will remain with the company and report to Mr. Zoghbi until a successor is named.
"Our brands are the heart of Kraft, and no one understands this better than Deanie. Her dedication and marketing savvy helped our portfolio of brands become a standout in pantries and refrigerators across the United States and Canada. I am grateful for her contributions over more than twenty years at Kraft," commented Mr. Cahill. "I would also like to thank Chuck for his commitment to quality and innovation, and the key role he has played in introducing new products that our consumers have embraced."
The leaders of legal and human resources will continue to report directly to Mr. Cahill. Mr. Cahill will take the next few months to work with the management team, get immersed in the business and spend time with the company's teams, customers and other business partners to develop a well-informed, comprehensive plan forward.
Mr. Cahill added, "I am excited to work with the management team as we continue to build a stronger Kraft and fulfill our potential as the industry leader. Together, we will chart a course of innovation and brand rejuvenation that is built on clear strategy and efficient operations."