She simultaneously serves as the independent director and audit committee chair at McCormick & Company, according to her LinkedIn. Prior to joining Hershey, Little worked as the EVP and CFO at Kelly Services.
“After more than a decade as a CFO for two public companies, I am looking forward to a more relaxed lifestyle,” said Little.
“Hershey is a wonderful company with a great future ahead of it. I will continue to be focused on delivering our 2018 commitments and setting up the business with a strong 2019 plan.”
Hershey said it has commenced a search for a CFO successor.
Commenting on Little’s departure, Hershey’s CEO and president, Michele Buck, said: “Patricia has been a critical leader at Hershey providing counsel and partnership as I took the helm and charted a new vision for the company.
“Patricia has been instrumental in helping create a more profitable and sustainable international business model, instilling a more disciplined cost management model across the enterprise, and successfully leading the company’s financial systems implementation,” she added.
US confectionery market
The announcement of Little’s retirement came at a time when Hershey’s core business is facing pressure from the overall US confectionery market.
The company’s confectionery portfolio only grew 0.6% in sales in Q2 this year, this site reported earlier.
Buck said: “it was driven primarily by competitor lapping significant innovation during the same time last year.
“Hershey’s CMG (candy, mint and gum) takeaway of -0.4% resulted in a share decline of 30 basis points” during the period, she added.
The US CMG category also saw slow growth, according to Nielsen’s data.
During the week ending July 28, 2018, sales of candy, gum and mints reached nearly $270m, which increased by 0.2% from the same period last year.
“Hershey, Mars and Ferrero were top contributors, representing a combined $182m of this week’s sales,” said Nielsen.
“As we head into back-to-school season, it’s important to note that nut-free sweets are still a growth driver… sales of candy, gum and mints that claim to be ‘nut free’ on the package, were up 9% this week compared to last year,” it added.