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Kraft taps new vice chair of ops

Kraft Foods Group has named George Zoghbi as vice chairman of operations, R&D, sales and strategy, a newly created position. He will report directly to CEO Tony Vernon.  

The company said that it created the new role to “bring together the expertise of several key areas under one leader, including research & development, which creates innovative new products and manages quality improvements, to the manufacturing and sales teams that make and ultimately deliver Kraft's products to customers.”

Zoghbi has served as leader of Kraft's Cheese & Dairy business since 2009. Under his leadership, the Cheese & Dairy unit was the first to implement the company's integrated business planning initiative that aims to strengthen sales forecasting and supply chain planning, which is now being rolled out companywide.

"Kraft's future growth will be driven by a disciplined approach to new product innovation, brand renovation and expansion across sales channels, which are all fueled by effective total cost management," said Vernon. "As vice chairman, George Zoghbi will help advance our growth plans by taking a strategic, holistic view of our portfolio and how we take our products from concept to store shelves."

Zoghbi joined Kraft's former parent company, now known as Mondelez International, in 2007 as VP and area director of Australia and New Zealand where he oversaw all aspects of the regional business. Prior to joining Kraft, Zoghbi held a variety of leadership roles at Fonterra, the world's largest dairy exporter. While there, his accomplishments included driving for operational excellence, integrating several acquired businesses and delivering growth through new channels.

With Zoghbi's transition to vice chairman, the company has appointed Howard Friedman to EVP and president of Cheese & Dairy, reporting to Vernon. Most recently, he was president of sales responsible for Kraft's largest retail customer, Walmart. In addition, Friedman is a 16-year Kraft veteran and has held positions of increasing leadership responsibility in marketing, where he managed such iconic brands as Philadelphia, Kraft Singles, Jell-O and Kool-Aid. He served as SVP of marketing for Cheese & Dairy before moving into his current sales role.

"I'm delighted we're able to continue to build our bench strength by offering new growth and development opportunities to two of our talented and accomplished leaders," said Vernon. "Our goal is to be the best recruiter, trainer and developer in our industry and that's true at every level of our organization."