- Mondelez International is looking to find a successor to CEO Irene Rosenfeld, who has run Mondelez or Kraft Foods, its predecessor, since 2006, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- The maker of Oreos, Trident gum and Ritz crackers has partnered with executive search-firm Heidrick & Struggles International to ensure a smooth transition. Mondelez has reportedly discussed possible external replacements to Rosenfeld, but succession timing is ultimately up to her.
- In a February interview, 63-year-old Rosenfeld said that she had no current plans to leave her position and that Mondelez has no mandatory retirement age.
Mondelez's plans to replace Rosenfeld come as a bit of a surprise, especially given her own statements from a few weeks ago. It will be interesting to see if the company pulls a replacement from within its own ranks, or seeks an outside hire. One thing is certain, however: The next CEO will need serious global experience, as Mondelez relies on foreign markets for the majority of its sales.
Like most snack giants, Mondelez has been struggling to retain market share as consumers shift toward healthier, value-added food products. The company's revenue fell 12% in 2016 because of these changing tastes, as well as currency fluctuations. This financial dip has reportedly made investors uneasy, and major shareholders are pushing the company to make changes to improve profit margins.
Rosenfeld has been with the company since it split from Kraft in 2012, and has seen Mondelez through several major strategies. Last year, the confection maker — which is worth nearly $70 billion — tried to buy Hershey with a $25 billion dollar deal that would have expanded its global reach and bolstered its portfolio with several major brands. Mondelez ultimately walked away from the takeover opportunity, partly because of Hershey's voting power and local ties to the trust it funds.
Rosenfeld has also led major cost-cutting efforts, shutting down or selling more than 40 factories throughout the past four years and boosting the company's adjusted operating margin to 15.3% in 2016 from 12% in 2013.
She has also spoken about improving the company's e-commerce presence and better leveraging "power brands" like Oreo, Milka and belVita, which represent 70% of its global revenue, as growth opportunities. Mondelez's e-commerce snack business revenue increased more than 35% last year, a space that appears ripe for company expansion. The snack maker has also set a goal to make $1 billion in e-commerce revenue by 2020.