Yesterday, Hershey announced that it has promoted David West to become the company's new chief executive, effective in December. The company announced on Monday that its current CEO, Richard Lenny, would be retiring by the end of the year. According to yesterday's press release, Lenny will stay on as CEO through the end of 2007. West joined HSY in 2001 and is now the company's executive vice president and chief operating officer and has immediately assumed the additional new roles of president and director on the company's board. West will assume the CEO role on December 1.

The year hasn't been all that sweet for HSY, as it has dropped to $44.59 from its April 5 high to $56.75. Despite this drop, the speculative options crowd maintains a soft spot for the food firm. HSY's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) comes in at 0.46, with a sugary-sweet percentile ranking of 6. That is a lost of optimism toward such a poor performer.