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Oreo Maker Mondelez Lays the Groundwork to Replace Its CEO

April 10, 2017, 4:35 AM UTC
Confectionary Production At Mondelez International Inc.
Packets of Oreo biscuits move along a conveyor belt on the production line at the Trostyanets confectionery plant, operated by Mondelez International Inc., in Trostyanets, Ukraine, on Thursday, April 6, 2017. Mondelez International Inc. bucked Russias recession to expand retail sales there by a double-digit percentage last year after starting to produce Oreo cookies as well as sweets blending chocolate and crackers, the companys regional manager said. Photographer: Vincent Mundy/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Vincent Mundy—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Mondelez International (MDLZ) is preparing to look for a successor to Chief Executive Officer Irene Rosenfeld as the snack maker faces shareholder pressure and a broad shift to healthier eating habits, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.

Mondelez, which makes Oreo cookies, Trident gum and Ritz crackers, has hired recruiting company Heidrick & Struggles International (HEIDRICK-STRUGGLES-INTL-INC), and its board recently discussed outside candidates to potentially replace Rosenfeld, the newspaper said.

A Mondelez representative was not immediately available for comment.

The timing of the succession is up to Rosenfeld, who is also chairman, and Heidrick & Struggles has not yet been asked to interview prospects, the paper said.

Potential successors among Mondelez‘s current executives include Tim Cofer, chief growth officer, and Chief Financial Officer Brian Gladden, the Journal said.

The company’s revenue fell more than 12% in 2016 as important emerging market economies faltered and consumers sought more nutritious foods, leading to a lagging share price that has sparked unrest among some Mondelez investors, the Journal said.

Shareholder activists Nelson Peltz and William Ackman own big stakes in the company and have urged Mondelez to boost earnings or sell itself. (

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Mondelez, which has a market value of nearly $70 billion, last year tried to buy Hershey Co for $23 billion. Hershey rejected the offer, and Mondelez walked away.

There has also been speculation that Deerfield, Illinois-based Mondelez, which relies on foreign markets for most of its $26 billion in annual sales, could be taken over by one of its rivals.