Kraft CFO to step down; operations exec to take job

Kraft CFO to step down; operations exec to take job

Kraft Foods Inc. said on Monday its chief financial officer will step down in mid-2011 and be replaced by the executive who oversees the food maker's operations.

Timothy McLevish, 55, will transfer CFO responsibilities to David Brearton, current executive vice president of operations, after Kraft posts first-quarter results in May.

Kraft said McLevish was stepping down to pursue opportunities in general management. A Kraft spokesman declined to elaborate.

"Given the fact it is occurring in the heart of the Cadbury integration is not comforting," said Stifel Nicolaus analyst Christopher Growe. "However the heavy lifting of undertaking the acquisition, improving the financial metrics of the balance sheet and setting out the synergy targets have all been accomplished.

Growe said Brearton "seems well positioned" for the the task of deriving cost savings from the deal.

Brearton, who joined Kraft in 1984 will receive a base salary of $650,000. Kraft said it has begun searching for Brearton's replacement. Reuters

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