Citing company people “familiar with the matter,” the newspaper said the Deerfield, Ill.-based confectionery and snack food giant has retained Heidrick & Struggles International, an executive search firm, to replace Irene Rosenfeld, who also serves as chairman.
The firm hasn’t been asked to interview candidates, and Rosenfeld, 63, would determine the timeline for succession, the Journal’s unnamed sources said.
Michael Mitchell, Mondelez’s senior director for corporate external communications, didn’t confirm that the company has started the replacement process and declined to comment on the retention of a search firm.
“As you can imagine, we have robust succession plans in place for all of our executives as a matter of good corporate governance,” he said. “However, I can confirm that our Chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld remains fully focused on delivering our business objectives and creating value for shareholders.”
The Journal’s sources said the company could look for a candidate within, pointing to Tim Cofer, chief growth officer, and CFO Brian Gladen as possibilities. Mondelez, maker of Oreo and Trident, could also seek an executive from another company. Any candidate would need to be versed in global sales, since Mondelez has a strong presence in foreign markets.
Rosenfeld has led Mondelez and its predecessor, Kraft Foods Inc., for 11 years. She oversaw the Kraft Foods’ 2010 purchase of Cadbury for $19 billion. The company split into Mondelez International and Kraft Foods Group, Inc., which later merged with H.J. Heinz Co.
Rosenfeld also steered a cost-cutting effort that included closing or selling more than three dozen factories over the last four years, boosting the company’s adjusted operating margin to 15.3 percent in 2016 from 13 percent in 2013.