The female CEO club is about to get smaller


Mondel─ôz CEO on turnaround: ‘Be straight with people’

Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Oreo and Cadbury maker Mondelez, will step down as head of the snack food giant in November. She is currently just one of 32 women to head up a Fortune 500 firm.

And when she does step down, the ranks of female chiefs will diminish.

Rosenfeld is being succeeded by Dirk Van de Put, the president and CEO of McCain Foods, a Canadian company known mainly for its frozen French fries.

Rosenfeld will stay on as Mondelez (MDLZ) chairman until March. Van de Put will then take over that role as well.

Rosenfeld, along with GM (GM) CEO Mary Barra, Pepsi (PEP) CEO Indra Nooyi, IBM (IBM, Tech30) CEO Ginny Rometty and HP Enterprise (HPE, Tech30) CEO Meg Whitman, has been among the most prominent female execs of the past decade.

Related: Oreo maker is worried about rise of populism

It's been an eventful tenure for Rosenfeld, who took over as CEO of Kraft -- which at the time owned Mondelez -- in 2006. Kraft split into two companies in 2012 and Rosenfeld stayed with Mondelez.

During her time as Mondelez CEO, Rosenfeld had to fend off criticism from activist shareholders Bill Ackman and Nelson Peltz, who both felt Rosenfeld was not doing enough to combat sluggish sales.

Kraft subsequently went on to merge with ketchup king Heinz (KHC), which is now controlled by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) and private equity firm 3G Capital.

There were even Wall Street rumors late last year that Kraft Heinz might want to buy Mondelez. That scuttlebutt came after Mondelez tried (and failed) to buy the iconic confectioner Hershey (HSY).

So it will be interesting to see what happens next for Mondelez under Van de Put.

Shares of Mondelez have lagged the broader market during Rosenfeld's tenure, adding to the pressure on Mondelez to do something dramatic to boost profits.


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