The Hershey Company has announced that its Board of Directors has elected Michele Buck, its current president and chief executive officer, as chairman of the Board of Directors, effective immediately.
Buck will also continue in her current role of the snacking company, a position she has held since March 2017.
She succeeds chairman Chuck Davis who will reassume the role of lead independent director, a role he held from May 2017 until his appointment as chairman in May 2018.
The appointment means that Buck will be joining a distinguished group of only 21 other women to lead the board of a Fortune 500 company.
A spokesperson for Hershey said the combination of the offices of CEO and chairman underscores the Board’s confidence in the company, the existing management team and Buck.
Under Buck’s leadership, Hershey has delivered strong financial results while successfully executing on the strategic vision of the company through portfolio expansion, profitable international growth, and positioning the company for future growth and value creation for all Hershey stakeholders.
“For the past couple of years, I’ve had the honor to work closely with Chuck Davis in his role as chairman and it has been an incredible opportunity to learn from one of the best,” said Buck. “I am privileged to succeed him as he reassumes the role of lead independent director. On behalf of everyone here at Hershey, I’d like to thank Chuck for his continued leadership and sage counsel as we position Hershey for another 125 years of success.”
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Buck said she was known as ‘chief provocateur’ at Hershey during her official role as chief growth officer. She explained she thought the company required a fresh direction and a new strategy: “Why can’t we be more than a confection company? Why can’t we be a snacking company? Why can’t we have a broader footprint internationally? At the time, I ran corporate social responsibility, and we weren’t certifying cocoa as sustainable. So we did it. It was a big charge, but it was the right thing to do. Why can’t we commit to 1005 certified cocoa and figure out how we’re going to get there? When I had that role, somebody coined the term ‘chief provocateur,’and I liked that because it really was what that job was about. It was questioning the status quo across everything we were doing, figuring out where we could go. What was our bold vision?”
Davis said the changes to Hershey’s Board reflect Buck’s vision and leadership on ‘its journey to becoming an innovative snacking powerhouse’.
“Hershey has a rich legacy of creating shareholder value in a manner that reflects our principles of excellence, togetherness, integrity and making a difference,” he said.