Chocolate maker Hershey Co said on Sunday it has replaced eight members of its board of directors, the latest management shake-up in the weeks since the surprise announcement of Chief Executive Richard Lenny's retirement.
Hershey, maker of Hershey Kisses and Reese's Pieces, said its new board members include Stone Point Capital CEO Charles Davis, a veteran of Goldman, Sachs & Co, where he was head of Investment Banking Services; and Edward Kelly, managing director of private equity firm The Carlyle Group.
Six of Hershey's independent directors quit at the request of the Hershey Trust, the controlling shareholder that has recently said it was not happy with company's performance. Two directors elected separately by shareholders also resigned.
Hershey has struggled in the past two years with rising costs and stiff competition from M&Ms maker Masterfoods USA, a unit of private Mars Inc.
The company added that Kenneth Wolfe would serve as nonexecutive chairman of the board, effective January 1. Wolfe served for eight years as chairman and CEO of Hershey, retiring at the end of 2001.
On October 1, Hershey, which last month posted a 66 percent drop in quarterly profit, said CEO and Chairman Richard Lenny will retire at the end of the year. One day later, Chief Operating Officer David West was named as the next CEO.
Lenny had differences with the trust and could not run the business with the autonomy he wanted, according to a report last month in the Wall Street Journal.
The Trust, established by Hershey founder Milton Hershey to serve as trustee for the boarding school that bears his name, controls about 78 percent of the voting shares at Hershey and about 30 percent of the economic interest.
Among the board members who resigned was Robert Campbell who had been designated to become nonexecutive chairman on January 1.
Hershey closed on Friday at $41.04 on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Franklin Paul)