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HERSHEY, Pa. -- Hershey Co. said on Tuesday that c.o.o. David West will become its next president and chief executive, a day after the chocolate maker announced the surprise retirement of c.e.o. Richard Lenny.
According to press reports, the promotion was seen by some as a sign that the company wants to stick with its strategy of focusing on new products such as premium chocolate to revive sales,.
Lenny is leaving the company after more than six years because he felt it was the right time to turn the company over to new management, a Hershey spokesman said.
West, who has been with the company since 2001, will become c.e.o. on Dec. 1, Hershey said in a statement. He was named president, effective immediately, on Tuesday.
Lenny, who is also Hershey's chairman, will remain in that post until the end of the year. Robert Campbell, a member of Hershey's board of directors, will become non-executive chairman on Jan. 1.
Both Lenny and West formerly worked for Kraft Foods' Nabisco unit, where he was responsible for the finances of that company's biscuits, confections and snack businesses. In total, he spent 14 years with Nabisco.