- Glen Walter will be the next president of Mondelez's North American business, according to Food Bev Media. He will oversee the $7 billion company's interests in both the U.S. and Canada.
- Walter was CEO of Coca-Cola Industries China before being tapped for this new role. He has also served as president and COO for Coca-Cola in North America, president of InBevUSA, general manager at Pearce Beverage Co. and as part of the sales and marketing team at EJ Gallo Winery, Inc.
- “Glen is an inspirational leader with an impressive track record of building brands and driving growth in North America and beyond,” Mondelēz’s outgoing CEO Irene Rosenfeld told Baking Business. “His deep operating experience in complex businesses, including a strong focus on sales excellence, make him a terrific leader for our North America region.”
The announcement that Walter will take over as president of Mondelez's North American business is just the latest in a sweeping round of changes to the snacks powerhouse's leadership.
Walter’s years at Coca-Cola, both in the U.S. and China, will serve him well in his new role. When he was promoted to CEO of Coca-Cola Industries China in 2014, the country was the third-largest market in the world for the beverage. His goal was to double the size of the business by 2020 and make China the largest market for Coke. Walter also had a hands-on approach, traveling to numerous regions of the country to get a better idea of local economies. This experience in China will likely aid him at Mondelez, which has had a difficult time developing emerging markets, despite having a wide-ranging international presence.
He also has a strong background in sales from his years at EJ Gallo Winery, Inc. While he's moved up the cooperate ladder since then, it should still help his new company as it fights to keep consumers buying their goods.
The maker of Oreo cookies, Trident gum and Ritz crackers has struggled as center store sales have stagnated and consumers have gravitated toward fresh, better-for-you options. Revenues fell 12% in 2016. In its most recent earnings report, Mondelez exceeded analyst expectations, but still saw revenue fall.
In response, Mondelez has worked on building an e-commerce snacks business. This effort has paid off, with net revenues increasing more than 35% last year. The food manufacturer has also pursued health initiatives, like reducing sodium and saturated fat in its snacks. Walter will likely work to grow both of these initiatives as he steps into his new leadership role.
He joins Mondelez as its current CEO and Chairman Irene Rosenfeld is stepping down. She will be succeeded next month by Dirk Van de Put, currently the president and CEO of Canada-based McCain Foods. Walter's appointment could be an effort to bring in new talent to innovate the company and curtail revenue losses due to consumers' changing tastes.
In this way, Mondelez is mirroring the food industry as a whole. Other top food companies, like Coca-Cola and Hershey, have seen new CEOs in 2017. By the end of August, 17 CEOs of public Big Food manufacturers and retailers had recently departed, or announced their intention to do so.
As the landscape of the food industry continues to change, its leadership will follow suit. It remains to be seen if this is change for the sake of change, or if the latest crop of executives will successfully shepherd their struggling businesses into the next era of food manufacturing.