Michele Buck will be new Hershey CEO

Michele Buck - (Photo / Submitted)

It didn’t take long for The Hershey Co. to find a new CEO, and the candymaker stayed in-house.

Two months after the company announced that CEO John P. Bilbrey would step down next year, executive vice president and COO Michele Buck has been named as his replacement.

She will step into the position effective March 1, 2017.

“Michele is a proven leader who, during 11 years at Hershey and more than 25 years as an executive in the consumer packaged goods industry, has a demonstrated track record of building brands consumers love while bringing out the best in employees amid a rapidly changing business environment,” said Bilbrey.

“She has consistently displayed a keen sense for how to grow our iconic brands,” he added. “The unanimous vote by the board is a testament to the confidence we have in Michele as the next leader of this great company.”

Hershey is based in Derry Township, Dauphin County.

Bilbrey will continue as non-executive chairman of Hershey’s board of directors. His total compensation package last year was $10.8 million, down from $17.7 million in 2014.

Buck’s experience

Buck, who joined Hershey in 2005, “has spearheaded the development and execution of many successful growth initiatives and strategic shifts at the company,” officials said Wednesday, “most notably Hershey’s substantial growth in its core confection portfolio as it moved from a supply- to demand-driven business model.

She was the architect of Hershey’s strategy to expand into broader snacking categories, officials said, overseeing the acquisitions of Krave Jerky last year, and the barkThins brand earlier this year.

Both were described as moves that helped Hershey branch out beyond its traditional confection portfolio.

“Hershey is an incredibly special company with a rich 120-year history of bringing goodness to the world,” Buck said. “I am honored to be chosen as the next leader of this innovative and pioneering business.”

“The opportunity ahead for Hershey is tremendous, and to take advantage of it will require a clear focus on meeting the evolving needs of consumers while moving quickly to stay ahead of the trends shaping our business,” she added.

Roger DuPuis
Roger DuPuis covers Cumberland County, health care, transportation, distribution, energy and environment. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at rdupuis@cpbj.com.

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