Kraft Foods announces executive shakeup, fourth-quarter loss of $398 million

IndustriesAssociated Press

Kraft Foods announced a slate of management changes Thursday, a move that comes shortly after a new CEO took over the struggling maker of Velveeta, Miracle Whip and Jell-O.

The company, based in Northfield, Illinois, also reported a loss for its fourth quarter, hurt by charges related to its employee benefit plans.

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Kraft Foods Group Inc. said three key executives would be leaving: Chief Financial Officer Teri List-Stoll, Chief Marketing Officer Deanie Elsner and Chuck Davis, executive vice president of research, development, quality and innovation. Jane Hilk, who heads snack nuts and enhancers, was named interim chief marketing officer. Replacements haven't yet been named for the other two executives.

The company also named George Zoghbi, vice chairman of operations, research & development, sales and strategy, to the newly created position of chief operating officer. Chris Kempczinski, who leads the company's business in Canada, was named to the newly created position of president of growth initiatives and international.

In December, Kraft had announced that Chairman John Cahill was replacing Tony Vernon as CEO.

"While there were some positive developments in the fourth quarter, we did not deliver to our potential in 2014, with the macro environment and our execution affecting our results," Cahill said in a statement.

For its fourth quarter, the company swung to a loss of $398 million, or 68 cents. Excluding costs related to post-employee benefit plans, it earned 75 cents per share. Analysts on average expected 73 cents per share, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue for the period was $4.7 billion, above the $4.64 billion Wall Street expected.

Net revenue for the year was virtually flat at $18.21 billion, and profit tumbled to $1.74 per share, down from $4.51 per share.

Its shares fell 2 percent to $64.56 in after-market trading.