Mondelez CEO Rosenfeld to Step Down -- 2nd Update

Irene Rosenfeld is stepping down after 11 years as chief executive of Mondelez International Inc., as the snack giant faces pressure to improve profitability amid an upheaval in the packaged food business.

Activist investors Nelson Peltz and William Ackman pushed Ms. Rosenfeld for years to improve profit margins that trail those of Mondelez's competitors. The Ritz-cracker and Oreo maker earlier this year hired an executive search firm to help find her successor, The Wall Street Journal reported in April. Ms. Rosenfeld, 64, had said previously that she had no plans to retire.

Amidst the broader struggles of packaged food in the U.S., other big companies have also named new chiefs this year, including General Mills Inc. and Hershey Co.

Dirk Van de Put, head of privately held Canadian company McCain Foods Ltd., will take over for Ms. Rosenfeld in November. Mr. Van de Put has also worked at Novartis AG, Group Danone, Coca-Cola Co. and Mars Inc.

Mr. Van de Put will be moving from a $7.3 billion maker of french fries and other potato products to a $66 billion conglomerate whose disparate brands stretch from bel Vita biscuits to Trident gum.

"He is a seasoned global CEO, having lived and worked on three different continents, with deep experience and expertise in all critical business and commercial operations in both emerging and developed markets," Ms. Rosenfeld said.

In all for its second quarter, Mondelez delivered revenue of $5.9 billion and earnings of 48 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected 45 cents. The company says a June malware attack decreased organic revenue by more than 2%.

Ms. Rosenfeld's coming retirement will shrink an already small pool of female chief executives of the biggest U.S. businesses.

As of June, women held 28 of the CEO spots at S&P 500 companies, according to Catalyst, a research group. That represents 5.6% of the total.

Catalyst's latest tally reflects companies in that index as of January 2017. One woman cited among those 28 CEOs, Tegna Inc.'s Gracia Martore, retired in June. Her departure, along with Ms. Rosenfeld's retirement, will decrease the total to 26.

Joann S. Lublin contributed to this article

Write to Annie Gasparro at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 02, 2017 09:23 ET (13:23 GMT)