Earlier this year, Irene Rosenfeld left no doubt as to what she would do with Kraft
You roll right over them, the chairman and CEO of the world's second largest food maker said.
That strategy might come from Rosenfeld's passion for roller-blading. But it may take more patience than force to persuade Cadbury
Cadbury rejected the offer as undervaluing the firm and Chairman Roger Carr sent Rosenfeld a letter calling Kraft's business a low growth, conglomerate business model.
People familiar with the matter say that it is likely to be weeks, rather than days, before the next move is made in the Kraft courtship of Cadbury.
Kraft is talking to investors and banks to stitch together financing and support for a deal. But Cadbury CEO Todd Stitzer has remained aloof, saying this week he was confident of growth prospects beyond the end of a restructuring plan in 2011.
Kraft has said it will be disciplined in its campaign and people familiar with Rosenfeld believe she is unlikely to allow her ego to push her into overpaying for Cadbury.
That's not her approach, said Ken Harris at consultancy Cannondale Associates, which has worked with Kraft. I don't think people would necessarily categorize her as having a huge ego and would go that way.
A CONVINCING ORATOR
One skill that could help Rosenfeld convince shareholders that the Kraft bid is a good one for Cadbury is her ability to sum up information in a compelling, digestible manner.
What I was always impressed with was how much information she could put into a five minute capsule, James Kilts, former president of Kraft USA, said.
Kilts, who would go on to run Gillette Co, was so impressed with a presentation Rosenfeld gave when she worked in research at General Foods and Kilts ran the Kool-Aid marketing team that he gave her a new job.
I immediately got her out of research and put her on the marketing team and promoted her to my group, Kilts said.
Kilts is a founding partner of Centerview Partners Management LLC, a private equity and financial advisory firm that is jointly representing Kraft in its pursuit of Cadbury.
Rosenfeld holds a doctoral degree in marketing and statistics from Cornell University and lists her childhood ambition as being President of the United States. She was steadily promoted as General Foods became part of Philip Morris Cos, which later combined it with another acquisition, Kraft.
Rosenfeld eventually led the integration of Nabisco into the Kraft business and was part of the team that led Kraft's initial public offering from Philip Morris -- now Altria Group Inc
A REASONABLE DEALMAKER
Rosenfeld was passed over as CEO of Kraft and eventually left in 2003, becoming head of PepsiCo Inc's
Meanwhile, Kraft suffered through slow sales growth and a series of restructurings that cut into profits.
In 2006, Rosenfeld was brought back as CEO and became chairman in 2007. In three years at the helm she has pushed more money into marketing and product development that have helped the company boost sales and recover some market share.
While Kraft has tried to focus on healthier foods, it has seen more success with indulgent foods like Oreo Cakesters.
Rosenfeld has a real understanding of what consumers say versus what they do, in trying to provide profitable products, Harris said.
Rosenfeld has also led Kraft through several acquisitions, such as the $7.82 billion purchase of Danone's
She is very determined, very energetic and I think that that ambition and that drive has been benefiting Kraft, Morningstar analyst Erin Swanson said.
The question now is if that energy and drive can wait for the right deal for Cadbury.
(Reporting by Brad Dorfman; Editing Bernard Orr)