NORTHFIELD, Ill. -- In the next step toward launching two public companies, the Kraft Foods Inc. board of directors has announced the appointments of the chairmen and CEOs of the future global snacks and North American grocery companies. As previously announced, the company expects to complete the spinoff by the end of 2012.
When the new companies launch, Irene B. Rosenfeld, 58, currently chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods, will be chairman and CEO of the global snacks company, with $31 billion in estimated revenue and a significant presence in numerous fast-growing, international markets.
W. Anthony (Tony) Vernon, 55, currently executive vice president and president of Kraft Foods North America, will become CEO of the $17 billion North American grocery company, one of the largest food and beverage companies on the continent.
John T. Cahill, 54, currently an industrial partner of private-equity firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC will become nonexecutive chairman of the North American grocery company. Initially, he will serve as executive chairman, reflecting the effort required to launch and transition to a public company. Cahill will join Kraft Foods in January to begin work on the separation.
The partnership between Cahill and Vernon will ensure a smooth transition to an independent public company, the company said, while maintaining the momentum Vernon has built in the grocery business. In broad terms, Vernon, as CEO, will lead the business, and Cahill, as chairman, will focus on public company, financial and strategic matters.
As CEO of Kraft Foods since 2006 and chairman since 2007, Rosenfeld has led Kraft Foods' transformation, improving the face, footprint and prospects of the company and enabling it to deliver top-tier results. She has 30 years of accomplishments in the food and beverage industry. These include building several major businesses; integrating Nabisco; leading Kraft Foods through its spinoff from Altria to emerge as a strong, independent company; and devising strategies that included the transformative LU and Cadbury acquisitions.
"Irene was the obvious choice to lead the global snacks company," said Mark Ketchum, lead director of the Kraft Foods board. "As a result of her bold vision, courage to transform Kraft Foods' portfolio and investment in core brands and high-growth developing markets, we are now able to launch two formidable world-class companies."
Vernon joined Kraft Foods in 2009 as president of its North American business. His emphasis on power brands, marketing innovation and astute cost management has enabled the North American business to outperform its peers in a very challenging environment. Vernon has an impressive history of building iconic consumer brands. Before joining Kraft Foods, he spent over 20 years with Johnson & Johnson. There he ran several multi-billion dollar businesses and built many of J&J's largest consumer brands, including Tylenol, Motrin and Pepcid.
"I'm delighted that Tony will become CEO of the grocery company," said Rosenfeld. "His focus on marketing innovation, new products and on disciplined cost control has set our North American business on a new trajectory, and I have great confidence in the future."
Cahill has exceptional food and beverage experience, including several senior finance positions with PepsiCo and KFC. He served as Chairman and CEO of The Pepsi Bottling Group Inc., the highly successful beverage business that separated from PepsiCo in 1999. Today, in addition to his role as a partner of Ripplewood Holdings, he serves on the boards of Colgate-Palmolive and Legg Mason.
"John's stellar track record in the food and beverage industry includes his service as chairman of a major public company," said Ketchum. "His broad expertise, financial acumen and significant experience in spinning off public companies will contribute greatly to launching and building a free-standing grocery company."
Until the spinoff, the management structure of Kraft Foods will remain in place. Rosenfeld and her executive team will continue to focus on delivering 2011 and 2012 business results as well as executing the separation.
Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft Foods, with 2010 revenue of $49.2 billion, offers brands including Cadbury, Jacobs, Kraft, LU, Maxwell House, Milka, Nabisco, Oreo , Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Trident and Tang.
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