NORTHFIELD, Ill. -- Kraft Foods Inc. has announced a new executive team that will sharpen the company's focus on innovation, marketing and growth.

"Our new team will build a Kraft that is bolder, more agile, more creative and more focused," said Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Kraft Foods. "We're putting more day-to-day decision-making in the hands of our North American sectors and international regions - the people closest to our consumers, customers and markets. And, we will focus more intensely on consumers' evolving food and beverage needs to take full advantage of our broad product portfolio and to accelerate growth."

Kraft is taking a number of actions to support these objectives:

  • Jeri Finard has been named to the newly created position of EVP & Chief Marketing Officer to lead Consumer Innovation & Marketing Services. This new group merges the company's Global Category Development and Global Marketing Resources & Initiatives (GMRI) functions.

  • Rick Searer has been named EVP & President of Kraft North America Commercial (KNAC). Under Searer's leadership, the Presidents who head the five North American sectors and North America Foodservice will have significantly more authority to run their respective businesses. He has been with the company for 25 years, most recently serving as Group Vice President & President, North America Convenient Meals Sector - currently the company's fastest-growing North American sector.

  • Some time ago, Hugh Roberts, EVP & President of Kraft International Commercial (KIC), informed the company of his intention to retire. An external search has been under way for his replacement. Roberts will stay on until early next year to assist with the transition.

  • David Brearton has been named EVP, Global Business Services & Strategy, which includes responsibility for areas such as information systems, business process improvement, and mergers and acquisitions.

  • Marc Firestone has been named to the newly created position of EVP, Corporate & Legal Affairs and General Counsel. He will lead the company's communications, government affairs, community involvement, law and compliance activities.

    Continuing in their current roles are: Jim Dollive, EVP & Chief Financial Officer; Karen May, EVP, Global Human Resources; Jean Spence, EVP, Global Technology & Quality; and Franz-Josef Vogelsang, EVP, Global Supply Chain.

    The nine members of Kraft's executive team report to Rosenfeld, who was named CEO in June 2006. These management changes are effective immediately.

    "Our new management team will tap into the potential of our people to make the changes necessary to support our quest for faster growth," Rosenfeld said.

    Kraft North America Commercial comprises five consumer sectors -- Beverages, Cheese & Dairy, Convenient Meals, Grocery, and Snacks & Cereals -- and North America Foodservice. Kraft International Commercial includes four geographic regions: Asia Pacific; Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa; European Union; and Latin America.

    Kraft Foods is the world's second-largest food and beverage company.

    SOURCE: Kraft Foods Inc. via Business Wire.