Hershey Names Michele Buck President And Chief Executive

Posted On: 12/28/2016

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TAGS: Hershey Co., confections news, vending, Michele Buck, John P. Bilbrey, Frito-Lay, Kraft, Nabisco, Krave, barkThins, Hershey leadership, Hershey CEO

Michele Buck, Hershey, vending
Michele Buck

HERSHEY, PA -- Hershey Co. said it is elevating its chief operating officer, Michele Buck, to the chief executive post, a few months after Hershey chairman, president and chief executive John P. Bilbrey announced that he will retire from the company on July 1, 2017. Buck, an 11-year Hershey veteran, will assume the top post on March 1.

The announcement in leadership change comes as investors press the chocolate giant for more insight into its long-term strategy that addresses health-focused snacks, according to analysts. It also follows the rejection of a bid by Mondelez International Inc. to combine the two companies.

While the changeover is earlier than Hershey originally anticipated, the selection of Buck came as no surprise to industry analysts. Buck, 55, has had three decades of experience in branding and marketing at Frito-Lay, Kraft, Nabisco and Hershey. She joined Hershey in 2005 from Kraft Foods Inc., which in 2012 became known as Mondelez. Over the summer, Hershey promoted her to chief operating officer, adding to her duties oversight of its North America business.

At Hershey, Buck has spearheaded several growth initiatives and strategic shifts, most notably its move from a supply-driven business model to a demand-driven model. She also was the architect of the company's expansion into broader snacking categories, overseeing the acquisitions of the Krave and barkThins brands.

"Hershey is an incredibly special company with a rich 120-year history of bringing goodness to the world," Buck said. "I am honored to be chosen as the next leader of this innovative and pioneering business. The opportunity ahead for Hershey is tremendous, and to take advantage of it will require a clear focus on meeting the evolving needs of consumers while moving quickly to stay ahead of the trends shaping our business."