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The Hershey Co. has elected President/CEO John P. Bilbrey as its chairman of the board of directors, effective immediately.
Bilbrey succeeds James E. Nevels, who held the position since February 2009 and now assumes the role of lead independent director.
“It is a privilege and honor to succeed Jim as Chairman,” said Bilbrey. “On behalf of all of our employees, I’d like to thank Jim for his partnership and the solid contributions he has made as Chairman over the last six years as we transformed Hershey into a growth company."
Bilbrey further noted Hershey's "financial strength, global reach and vision, as well as great brands and [an] experienced management team," which he believes will "provide a strong foundation for the future of The Hershey Company."
In his role as lead independent director, Nevels will serve as a liaison between the chairman and the independent directors, approve board meeting agendas and schedules, and assist with succession planning and crisis management.
"We are fortunate that J.P. will continue to lead the company in this added capacity and I, as well as my fellow directors, look forward to working with J.P. as we continue to build value for all shareholders," Nevels said.
The Hershey Co. operates more than 80 brands and drives more than $7.4 billion in annual revenues.