Hershey names Michele Buck as next CEO of candy maker

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  • FILE- In this July 7, 2007, file photo, Jane Boatfield, left, a representative with the Guinness Book of World Records, and Michele Buck, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer U.S. of the Hershey Company, display "The World's largest Hershey Kiss" in Hershey, Pa. On Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016, Hershey Co. named Buck president and CEO to replace John Bilbrey, who is retiring from his executive role at the candy maker. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

    FILE- In this July 7, 2007, file photo, Jane Boatfield, left, a representative with the Guinness Book of World Records, and Michele Buck, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer U.S. of the Hershey Company, display "The World's largest ... Hershey Kiss" in Hershey, Pa. On Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016, Hershey Co. named Buck president and CEO to replace John Bilbrey, who is retiring from his executive role at the candy maker. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File) (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This July 25, 2011 file photo shows a classic Hershey's chocolate bar in Overland Park, Kan. On Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016, Hershey Co. named Michele Buck president and CEO to replace John Bilbrey, who is retiring from his executive role at the candy maker. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

    FILE - This July 25, 2011 file photo shows a classic Hershey's chocolate bar in Overland Park, Kan. On Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016, Hershey Co. named Michele Buck president and CEO to replace John Bilbrey, who is retiring from his executive role at the ... candy maker. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File) (The Associated Press)

Hershey Co. named Michele Buck president and CEO to replace John Bilbrey, who is retiring from his executive role at the candy maker.

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The company said Wednesday that Buck, executive vice president and chief operating officer, takes her new post March 1. She joined the company in 2005 and has focused on initiatives including Hershey's expansion into broader snacking categories.

Bilbrey will stay on as non-executive chairman of the board.

Earlier this year, the Hershey, Pennsylvania-based company rejected a preliminary takeover offer from Oreo maker Mondelez. The roughly $22.3 billion deal would have created a global powerhouse selling some of the world's best-known chocolates and snacks.

Bilbrey announced his retirement in October.

Hershey shares closed up 56 cents at $103.17. The stock is up 15.6 percent so far this year.