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Hershey chairman retiring, successor named

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Charles Davis, Hershey's lead independent director, will become its new chairman in May.
Charles Davis, Hershey's lead independent director, will become its new chairman in May. - (Photo / )

The Hershey Co.'s board of directors will see a change at the top this spring.

John Bilbrey is retiring as Hershey's board chairman. He was also formerly the company's president and CEO.
John Bilbrey is retiring as Hershey's board chairman. He was also formerly the company's president and CEO. - ()

The Derry Township-based candy and snack company announced today that John P. Bilbrey, board chairman and former president and CEO, is not seeking re-election and will retire from the board this spring.

Charles Davis, the company's lead independent director, will assume the role of chairman following the company's annual stockholders meeting in May.

Bilbrey, 61, took over as president and CEO in 2011 after serving as Hershey's COO. He stepped down from those roles last year, while maintaining the role of board chairman. Michele Buck replaced him as president and CEO after serving as Hershey's executive vice president and COO.

"With the seamless CEO transition last year to Michele Buck and with Chuck Davis as chairman of the board this spring, I know this special company is on the right path as it transforms into an innovative snacking powerhouse," Bilbrey said in a statement.

Hershey has been busy in recent years diversifying its product line beyond chocolate. The company recently purchased Amplify Snack Brands Inc., the Texas-based maker of SkinnyPop popcorn and Oatmega protein bars.

The company saw net sales last year grow by 1 percent, despite a fourth-quarter decline of 1.6 percent. Officials expect 5 percent to 7 percent growth this year, in part because of the recent cuts to the federal corporate tax rate.

Hershey employs about 18,000 people around the world. Shares of its stock are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol HSY.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin and Cumberland counties. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal.

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