Buck to succeed Bilbrey as Hershey president, c.e.o.

by Monica Watrous
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Michelle Buck, Hershey
Michele Buck has been named president and chief executive officer of the Hershey Co.

HERSHEY, PA. — Michele Buck has been named president and chief executive officer of the Hershey Co., effective March 1, 2017. Currently executive vice-president and chief operating officer, Ms. Buck will succeed John P. Bilbrey, who previously announced plans to retire and will continue as non-executive chairman of the company’s board of directors.

J.P. Bilbrey, Hershey
John P. Bilbrey

“Michele is a proven leader who, during 11 years at Hershey and more than 25 years as an executive in the consumer packaged goods industry, has a demonstrated track record of building brands consumers love while bringing out the best in employees amid a rapidly changing business environment,” Mr. Bilbrey said. “She has consistently displayed a keen sense for how to grow our iconic brands. The unanimous vote by the board is a testament to the confidence we have in Michele as the next leader of this great company.”

Ms. Buck joined Hershey in 2005 as senior vice-president and global chief marketing officer, a position she held for six years before advancing to the role of senior vice-president and global chief growth officer in 2011. In 2013, she became senior vice-president and president of North America, and this past June she was promoted to executive vice-president and chief operating officer, with responsibility for leading the company’s commercial operations. During her tenure at Hershey, she has spearheaded the development and execution of a number of strategic initiatives, including the company’s move from a supply-driven business model to a demand-driven business model. She has led Hershey’s expansion into broader snacking categories, overseeing the acquisitions of the Krave jerky and barkThins snacking chocolate brands.

“Hershey is an incredibly special company with a rich 120-year history of bringing goodness to the world,” Ms. Buck said. “I am honored to be chosen as the next leader of this innovative and pioneering business. The opportunity ahead for Hershey is tremendous, and to take advantage of it will require a clear focus on meeting the evolving needs of consumers while moving quickly to stay ahead of the trends shaping our business.”

Prior to joining Hershey in 2005, Ms. Buck served 17 years at Kraft/Nabisco in numerous senior positions and at the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo, Inc. A native of central Pennsylvania, she received a bachelor’s degree at Shippensburg University and a master’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

“I look forward to working closely with our board and the entire Hershey team to further our vision for 2017 and beyond,” Ms. Buck said. “I also would like to thank JP for his leadership, mentorship and friendship over the last several years. It is an honor to be succeeding him as c.e.o., and I look forward to his continued guidance as chairman of our board.” 
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