Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A household name, and a yummy one

Kenneth L. Wolfe has resigned as non-executive chairman of The Hershey Company.

The chairman of Hershey Trust, LeRoy S. Zimmerman said in a statement yesterday, Monday, that The Trust is grateful for Mr. Wolfe's "steady leadership during this important time. And on behalf of the Trust, I extend to himour heartfelt thanks."

Despite the nice words, all is not sweetness at the famous candy company just now.

The Hershey Trust is the controlling shareholder of The Hershey Company.

As the Trust's statement acknowledged, Wolfe had come out of retirement to take this position. He was the chairman of Hershey Company from 1994 to 2001, and then retired just in time to be out of the limelight when it turned harsh. In 2002, the Trust announced plans to sell the Company to another confectionary, Wrigley. All heck broke loose.

The Trust had to shelve those plans, and when things had quieted down just a bit, in 2005, the Company asked Wolfe to return to the job. So he's been at it for more than three years since ten, providing his "steady hand," and he has retired again. Except hat he hasn't. This isn't another "retirement" it is a resignation, and he resigned because the Trust asked him not to stand for re-election at the Company's next annual meeting of shareholders this April.

The statement Monday said that the Trust is "pleased to support the election of Jim Nevels to succeed Ken as non-executive Chairman of The Hershey Company’s Board of Directors. Jim will work with President and CEO Dave West and the Board of Directors to help to grow the Company for the benefit of all its shareholders."

The Company and Trust are themselves only two entities within a fairly large organizational tree that is also enmeshed in the life of namesake town in Pennsylvania. Here's an organizational chart.

I wonder if there are going to be any fireworks in April.

No comments: