Bulcke nominated to be Nestle's next c.e.o.

by Keith Nunes
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VEVEY, SWITZERLAND — The board of directors of Nestle S.A. has nominated Paul Bulcke, the current head of the Zone Americas division, as the next chief executive officer of the company. Nestle’s shareholders will vote on the nomination at its annual meeting on April 8, 2008. The board also announced that Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the company’s current c.e.o. and chairman, will take over as chairman of the board.

With the announcement, Nestle’s board is concluding a process it began in 2005. At that time, it decided to combine the roles of chairman and c.e.o. in order to accelerate its efforts in developing its nutrition, health and wellness businesses. With its objectives achieved, the board determined it was time to separate the functions of c.e.o. and chairman, according to the company.

"Paul Bulcke has a proven performance record both in developing as well as in industrialized markets in Latin America and in Europe," Mr. Letmathe said. "As a member of Nestle’s executive board in charge of Zone Americas, he played a decisive role in transforming this region not only into the group’s largest, but also into its most profitable one."

Mr. Bulcke’s successor as head of Zone Americas will be announced on Oct. 18, according to the company. Mr. Bulcke will act as c.e.o.-designate until the vote is held at Nestle’s annual meeting.

Mr. Bulcke joined Nestle in 1979 as a marketing trainee. From 1980 to 1986 he held various marketing and sales positions in Peru, Ecuador and Chile before moving to Europe as managing director of Nestle Portugal. Between 1998 and 2003 he was managing director of Nestle’s Czech and Slovak Republic units, and then Nestle Germany. He was then appointed to his present post as executive vice-president, responsible for Zone Americas.

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