Mondelez International CEO Irene Rosenfeld will retire in November, capping an 11- year tenure that included spinning off Kraft Foods, acquiring Cadbury and adapting to consumers’ ever-evolving demands, notably their demands for tasty snacks made with clean ingredients.
Her successor is Dirk Van de Put, the head of McCain Foods, a Canadian-based frozen foods supplier. Van de Put’s resume includes leadership positions with Coca Cola and Mars prior to joining McCain. Van de Put will also replace Mondelez as chairman of the board next spring.
For more than a decade, Rosenfeld sat at the helm of a $26 billion global snack and candy company, known for brands such as Oreo and Ritz. She was named CEO of Kraft in 2006, led a takeover of Cadbury in 2010 and engineered the spin-off of Kraft Foods, the North American grocery part of the company, from the newly formed Mondelez.
In response to growing demands for healthier meals and snacks made with non-artificial, simpler ingredients, Mondelez has focused its attention on addressing these demands. Despite their efforts, Mondelez instead saw declining sales and mounting pressure from investors to boost sales.
Mondelez’s sales and earnings have been steadily free falling since Rosenfeld orchestrated the spinoff of Kraft’s grocery business. Last year’s earnings were at $1.66 billion, down by more than half from 2013, which was the first full year as a snacks focused company, led by the Oreo, Triscuit and Ritz brands. In fact, shareholder activists Bill Ackman of Pershing Square and Nelson Peltz of Trian Fund Management pushed Rosenfeld to boost earnings. Peltz reportedly pushed Rosenfeld to pursue a merger with PepsiCo, but eventually dropped the idea.