Mondelez Names McCain Foods Chief as New CEO -- Update

Mondelez International Inc. has tapped an outsider to be its next chief executive.

The maker of Ritz crackers and Oreo cookies said Wednesday that Dirk Van de Put, who currently leads the privately held Canadian company McCain Foods Ltd., will take over for CEO Irene Rosenfeld in November. Ms. Rosenfeld, 64 years old, will continue to serve as board chair until she retires in March.

She has been CEO since 2006 and, in recent months, has faced pressure from activist investors Nelson Peltz and William Ackman to increase the company's profit margins, which trail those of competitors.

The food maker's second-quarter earnings released Wednesday show operating margins improved though revenue is down in all of the company's regions except Latin America, where it was relatively flat. Still, the company beat estimates on its bottom line.

Shares in Mondelez, down 1.6% this year, rose 2.7% to $44.80 in premarket trading.

The Wall Street Journal reported in April that Mondelez was searching for Ms. Rosenfeld's replacement, though she said earlier in the year she had no plans to retire.

McCain, a $7.3 billion company, makes frozen french fries and other potato products. At Mondelez, Mr. Van de Put will oversee a far-reaching portfolio of snack, gum and candy products including bel Vita biscuits and Trident gum.

Mr. Van de Put has also worked at Novartis AG, Group Danone, Coca-Cola Co. and Mars Inc. Ms. Rosenfeld said in prepared remarks that Mr. Van de Put is prepared to lead Mondelez, which has a market value of around $66 billion.

"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," she 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 profit of 45 cents a share. The company said a June malware attack decreased organic revenue by more than 2%.

Write to Cara Lombardo at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 02, 2017 08:48 ET (12:48 GMT)