Kraft Puts Marketing at Forefront of New Lineup

As part of an executive realignment designed to "sharpen the company's focus on innovation, marketing and growth," Jeri B. Finard has been named evp and the new Chief Marketing Officer of Kraft Foods Inc., the nation's leading food producer.

Irene Rosenfeld, who was installed as CEO in June, announced a new management lineup on Tuesday that she says "will build a Kraft that is bolder, more agile, more creative and more focused."

The move is widely seen as a prelude to the expected spinoff of Kraft from Altria Group Inc., which owns 88 percent of the company. Altria spent roughly $1.36 billion on Kraft brands in 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

In her newly created post, Finard gets oversight for two previously separate groups: Global Category Development and Global Marketing Resources and Initiatives, which will focus on new categories and innovations in products and services.

Finard--who joined Kraft in 1986--most recently was based in Tarrytown, New York as evp, global category development, with responsibility for growing Kraft's global brands, including Kraft, Oreo and Maxwell House. This included all brand communication and development of strategic-growth opportunities. She was named to that position in April.



Paula Sneed, evp of the global marketing operation, will leave the company after a transition period, Kraft announced. Since joining Kraft 20 years ago as an assistant brand manager, Finard has touched nearly every brand through a number of marketing and management assignments.

As general manager for a wholly owned subsidiary of Kraft Foods, which imported Altoids and Toblerone from Europe, she was instrumental in acquiring and integrating the Balance Bar energy bar company. She is also credited with revitalizing Kraft's desserts businesses, which includes mature brands Jell-O and Cool Whip.

Finard also served as president of North American Beverages, which included coffee brands such as Maxwell House, Starbucks and Gevalia, and refreshment beverage brands such as Capri Sun, Crystal Light and Kool-Aid.

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