Chewing gum giant Wrigley unveiled a streamlining of its top management yesterday, suggesting that acquisitions remain top of the menu. The US firm, which recently failed in a $12 billion bid for chocolate maker Hershey, is now set to intensify its interests elsewhere.
"Our new structure will better align our management resources and accountability against key business priorities," said president and newly-appointed chairman Bill Wrigley Jr. "This will enable us to more fully leverage our global scale -- both operationally and strategically -- and position us to take full advantage of promising opportunities we see in the dynamic, worldwide confectionery marketplace."
To facilitate the evolution of the Wrigley business, a number of organisational changes have been made. Bill Wrigley Jr is to become chairman of the board while continuing as president and chief executive, while Ronald Waters will step into the new role of chief operating officer.
"I am pleased to have this opportunity to play a new and more direct role in translating our strategic vision into operational excellence, and I could not be more enthusiastic about the talent of the people on our team and the future possibilities for the Wrigley company," said Waters.
In addition Peter Hempstead, formerly senior vice president - international, will assume the newly created role of senior vice president - worldwide strategy & new business, directing strategic planning, new business development, mergers and acquisitions, and development of global brands. Dr Surinder Kumar will continue to lead the Wrigley company's global R&D.
These new positions will be effective as of 1 January 2004.
"This is an incredibly exciting time for our company," said Wrigley. "These moves will enable an already dynamic leadership team and organization to better leverage the extraordinary power of Wrigley brands, operations and people to create generational growth for all our stakeholders around the world."
The Wrigley company is the world's largest manufacturer and marketer of chewing gum, with global sales of over $2.7 billion. The company markets its brands in over 150 countries.
However although Wrigley has about half of the world's market for chewing gum, it has been forced to respond to moves by rivals into new areas such as dental health products. In June, Nestlé and Colgate-Palmolive said they would join forces to challenge Wrigley for leadership of the fast-growing market for dental chewing gum.