Monday, October 1, 2007

Hershey’s CEO to Retire

Richard H. Lenny, the CEO, President and Chair of The Hershey Company is calling it quits at the end of the year. He took his current position in 2001.

You can read the press release below, which is obviously geared towards investors and not consumers, because not once does it mention anything good that’s happened since Lenny took over ... a period which saw the addition of PGPR to Hershey’s chocolate, the swapping of real milk chocolate in the Fifth Avenue bar to subpar mockolate and of course their support for the Grocery Manufacturers Association proposal to lower the standards of identity for chocolate (a reversal from their earlier position logged in 2000). Oh, yeah, and the closing of the Smith Falls, ONT and Oakdale, CA along with many smaller factories totalling at least 1,500 people directly.

HERSHEY, Pa., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/—Richard H. Lenny, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Hershey Company, has informed the Board of Directors that he intends to retire at the end of 2007. First elected as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company in March 2001, Mr. Lenny was elected Chairman of the Board in December 2001.

In commenting on the announced retirement, Robert H. Campbell, Chair of the Company’s Compensation and Executive Organization Committee, said: “On behalf of the Hershey board of directors, stockholders, and employees, we thank Rick for his leadership over this past six and one-half years. During this time, the Company developed and has been executing its value-enhancing strategy with the over-arching goal of building stockholder value over the long-term. Under Rick’s leadership, through a combination of core brand growth, disciplined global expansion, and improved margins, Hershey’s total stockholder return was higher than that of the S&P food group and significantly outperformed the S&P 500. In addition, Rick has assembled an excellent leadership team that we’re confident will realize Hershey’s growth potential.

“The board has begun the succession process and looks forward to making an announcement in the near future. Once announced, there will be an orderly transition from Rick to his successor. We wish Rick all the best as he concludes his role with Hershey,” Campbell concluded.

“My years at Hershey have been extremely rewarding as I’ve been honored to lead a dedicated and engaged organization. During this time, we undertook major challenges, all focused on building a strong foundation for the benefit of all our stakeholders. I’m extremely proud of my Hershey colleagues and all that they have accomplished. I also want to thank our board of directors for its keen insights, support, and guidance over the past several years,” said Lenny. “The long-term prospects for our category and particularly for our company remain promising. I look forward to working closely with my successor so that the transition to new leadership will be effective and seamless.” (source)

If I were in charge, I’d go private. If I were the Hershey Trust, I’d slowly buy the company back. They have (or at least it looks like they have) the capital to do it. Move away from all for the profit business and move to become and socially and ecologically responsible company both in the United States and abroad. Mars has a huge advantage over Hershey’s in that it is privately owned and can take bigger risks when the consumer confectionery market is in flux as it is now.

Hershey’s should get back to making quality confectionery products at affordable prices, pay people a decent wage and the Hershey Trust will be able to continue the Milton Hershey School without problems. After all, the Trust is there to help mold disadvantaged youth - give them the education and boost that they need. Are they really teaching them anything if they abandon the town, communities and ideals that Hershey built?

More at the Wall Street Journal.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:27 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyFeatured NewsNews

  1. my sister-in-law worked at that hershey factory in oakdale, california, when she was home from college in the summers.  my husband remembers that she would bring home lots of hershey’s kisses and that she always smelled of chocolate (she’s 18 years older, so these are memories of a 4 year old boy).  smile
    otherwise, it looks like this is going to be good news for hershey.  this guy was running the place into the ground.  if they were really smart, they’d start looking at what nestle is doing with the kit kat in the rest of the world and they’d start adding some fun flavors to the american kit kats that they sell here.

    Comment by amy on 10/01/07 at 1:55 pm #
  2. The best news ever the Lenny plauge has been stomped out. too bad so many employees had to pay for his mistakes. he should receive ZERO compentation for his failures. Hershey should also cease all Mexico plans and leave the plants open if they wish to redeem themselfs at all. Remember no customers no sales. Lennys departure is a big first step in the right direction.

    Comment by Shawn on 10/01/07 at 6:57 pm #
  3. Hmm. Maybe I should send in my resume. wink

    Comment by Sera on 10/02/07 at 9:33 am #
  4. I read with total distain and disgust an article in my recent AARP publication that the US Hershey Company, in it’s infinate wisdom is going to send about 10% of its work to Mexico.

    The fact that your CEO is bowing out at this time is ironic.  Perhaps all of your corporate staff should go to Mexico and sell your candy down there.

    What is next?  Are we going to move Hersey, PA there also?

    I, for one will not be purchasing Hersey’s products in the future and will recommend to others to do the same.


    Comment by Dale Newman on 11/10/07 at 5:36 am #
  5. I will never buy Hershey’s again until they return all off-shore manufacturing to the Unite States where the American worker who made Hershey’s what it is today has his/her job restored to her.

    Comment by Joyce A. Francis on 12/10/07 at 4:02 am #
  6. Cybele's avatar

    Joyce & Dale - what about the workers who are still employed in the US? Why not only buy the Hershey products manufacturered in the United States and reject the ones made in Mexico?

    By boycotting the company altogether, you’re abandoning the 90% of the employees/products still here in the States.

    Comment by Cybele on 12/10/07 at 8:10 am #
  7. Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to know which of the Hershey’s product was made where!!! And once the public starts to take matters into their hands and realize they have the power, corporations will listen and those workers will be returned to their jobs—or a new generation will.

    Comment by Joyce A. Francis on 12/10/07 at 9:12 am #
  8. Cybele's avatar

    Right now it’s very simple to tell, just flip over the package and read the back. Nestle makes many of their candies in South America and they’re all labeled as such.

    If a product from Mexico sells worse than than the American product that it replaced, the corporation will take note. Like good parenting, this reinforces the positive behavior (local jobs) and punishes the bad behavior.

    Have you also stopped buying most of Brach’s candy, too?

    Comment by Cybele on 12/10/07 at 9:18 am #
  9. I have never enjoyed Brach’s and so have never purchased it.

    Comment by Joyce A. Francis on 12/10/07 at 9:30 am #
  10. I just heard on the news where the Hershey Corporation is closing the Peppermint Patties plant in PA and shipping 300 jobs to Mexico.  I have been a loyal customet of your chocolate products an especially the York Peppermint Patties.  However, in these dire economic times, I find this behavior as not only deplorable but unpatriotic as the unemployment rolls in this country soar.  Your management which represents an American iconic company must be tone deaf to the concerns of all America by not putting America First in these critical months and years.  I hope you sell a lot of candy in Mexico because I will not be your customer here if you proceed with putting 300 citizens on the unemployment rolls.

    Comment by Anthony DeFalco on 2/20/09 at 11:11 am #
  11. Cybele's avatar

    Anthony - I urge you to communicate directly with Hershey’s about your displeasure with the move to Mexico (just so you know, this has been in the works for at least 2 years, it’s not a reaction to the current economic downturn).

    You can email them or send them a letter:

    I too am distressed to hear about the loss of our all-American Peppermint Patties.

    Comment by Cybele on 2/20/09 at 11:16 am #
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