The Rookies
A potent new c.e.o. lineup is set to lead food and beverage powerhouses.

KANSAS CITY — The start of a new year often is when major promotions and other corporate management changes take effect. At the highest levels of the food and beverage industry, the scope of this year’s transitions is nothing short of extraordinary.

Many of the bluest of blue-chip companies in the food and beverage sector changed leaders toward the start of 2017. Six of the companies have annual sales totaling more than a quarter trillion dollars with industries touching many corners of the food and beverage business, including leaders in confectionery, frozen foods, meat, carbonated soft drinks, coffee and convenience foods.

Announcements of the leadership changes snowballed as the year came to an end. While c.e.o. successions were detailed at Nestle S.A. and Hormel Foods Corp. in June and September, respectively, four of the announcements came over the span of about a one-month period ending Dec. 22 and included The Coca Cola Co., The Hershey Co., Starbucks Corp., and Tyson Foods, Inc.

In certain instances, the new chief executives come to their positions following long careers away from the food industry, underscoring the determination of the boards of leading food companies to chart a fundamentally different course forward for the businesses. As the new leaders make their mark on their respective companies, the ripple effect across the entire food and beverage industry is likely to be profound.