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The Hershey Co. has named several people to positions that will accelerate the company's growth opportunities. The International Commercial Group (ICG) will now be led by J. P. Bilbrey as the senior vice president and president of ICG, who will focus on the key growth areas in Asia, Latin America and India. Hershey's Canadian operations will be integrated into the newly created North American Commercial Group (NACG), which will be headed by Chris Baldwin, senior vice president and president of NACG.

"J.P. and his team are advancing Hershey's global strategies. Focus on Latin America, including Mexico, and Asia is providing opportunities to build our core brands, as well as to develop new platforms that meet unique consumer and customer needs. The organizational changes announced today provide the appropriate resources in these critical areas. At the same time, we're leveraging Hershey's North American marketing and sales leadership to unite our U.S. and Canadian marketing, sales and customer marketing areas, while building capabilities to capitalize on the very unique consumer and customer trends within each country," said Richard H. Lenny, chairman, president and chief executive for The Hershey Co.

Personal changes have been made within the ICG to reflect its purpose. Dan Vucovich was named vice president and global chief customer officer within the ICG. In this role, Vucovich will lead the company's selling organizations around the world. He will report to both Baldwin and Bilbrey.

Tim Dunigan was appointed to the position of vice president of sales for ICG. He comes to this position from Wal-Mart Global, where he was the vice president. "Tim's outstanding track record of success with Wal-Mart as well as experience with Hershey's selling organization will play a significant role as we continue to drive growth with global customers in addition to key customers in Asia and Latin America," Bilbrey said.

Bryan Crittenden was promoted to the position of vice president of business development for ICG. "Bryan has an immense knowledge of global markets," Bilbrey noted. "In this new position, Bryan will be responsible for seeking out profitable growth opportunities in Hershey's key international markets."

Within Hershey’s NACG, formerly known as the U.S. Commercial Group, several personnel changes have been announced. Bruce Brown, the vice president and general manager for Canada, has become the vice president of business process optimization for NACG. "Bruce led the Canadian organization and business over the past four years delivering strong top-line and bottom-line growth," Bilbrey said. "Bruce was also instrumental in leading the Canadian organization through a period of dynamic change. His long history with the company and in leadership roles in Canada enabled him to deliver these results and perfectly prepare him for his new role."

Eric Lent was named the vice president and general manager of Canada for the NACG. Lent will deliver the sales, market share and profitability goals for Hershey's Canada in this position. "Eric's leadership has been key to driving growth in our refreshment business and our sugar confectionery brands," Baldwin noted. "His knowledge of our brands and marketing programs will be of tremendous value as we leverage our capabilities across Canada."

In addition, Andy Jacobs was appointed to the position of vice president of customer marketing within the NACG. Also, Bert Alfonso was promoted to the position of vice president of finance and planning for the NACG.

In supplier news, TNT Marketing expanded its team of c-storologists with the addition of Nick Levins, Judy Bell and Christy Lee.

Nick Levins joins the team as a representative to Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle. Levins began his career in the grocery industry, then moved to the Coca-Cola Co. Prior to joining TNT Marketing, Levins worked at Acosta Sales and Marketing for 28 years, where he was the senior account manager.

Judy Bell will serve as the regional sales manager for TNT's Atlanta market. She comes to the position from a role at Ultimate Sales and Services, located in Fredericksburg, Va., where she expanded its convenience store foodservice sales. Bell has also served as a sales manager for Kellogg's Snack Brands.

Christy Lee joined TNT Marketing as a customer service representative. She comes to the company from previous positions as an administrative assistant, photo lab manager and freelance graphic designer.

In association news, the National Confectioner's Association (NCA) elected Ross Born, co-CEO of Just Born, Inc., to the position of chairman of the board of trustees for the NCA. Born succeeds Jim Conlan, of Masterfoods USA, who served as the chairman since 2004. Born has previously worked with the NCA as vice chairman of the association from 2004 to 2006 and has served on its board and the executive board.

"Ross Born has proved that he will be an innovative leader as chairman," said Larry Graham, president of NCA. "Having worked in his family-owned business for nearly three decades, he brings a wealth of experience to the table and he cares deeply about the importance of expanding the depth and the breadth of the confectionery industry."

Michael Gilmore, COO of Ferrero U.S.A. Inc., also joined the NCA as vice chairman of the board and will continue to serve as the ALL CANDY EXPO committee chair. Gilmore has been with Ferrero U.S.A. Inc. for more than 17 years and has logged 35 years of experience within the food industry.

"NCA is fortunate to have a seasoned, dedicated, professional staff, along with a board of directors representing the best in the confectionery industry. Michael Gilmore and I are excited to work together with all of them," commented Born.

Three new executive board members join Born and Gilmore for the 2006 to 2008 term. They are: Tom Joyce, vice president of customer & industry affairs, The Hershey Co.; Liam Killeen, president and CEO, Storck USA, L.P.; and Richard Ross, president, Galerie.
In addition, the NCA also elected 12 board of trustee members for the 2006 to 2009 term: Scott Albanese, president, Albanese Confectionery Group; Eric Atkinson, president, Atkinson Candy; Ross Bainbridge, managing partner, Bainbridge and Associates; Rick Blommer, vice president of operations, The Blommer Chocolate Co.; Scott Frey, Sr., vice president of sales & marketing, Brach's Confections, Inc.; Mitchell Goetze, vice president of administration, Goetze's Candy Co., Inc.; Pat Huffman, president, Warrell Corp.; Rick Kay, executive vice president, Sweet Candy Co.; John Morrissey, president, American Food Products; Linda Sahagian, president, Sahagian & Associates Inc.; Phil Shankman, president, Shankman & Associates; and Jimmy Weatherford, president, Crown Candy Corp.

In other supplier news, Network Services Co., an organization of distributors that sell janitorial supplies, foodservice disposables, and industrial packaging and printing materials, added three people to its team. David Brown joins the company as the director of global sourcing. He comes to the position from AAP China's North American arm, where he served as the president. Prior to that, he was the vice president of marketing and international sourcing for Unisource Worldwide.

David Calloway has also joined the company as the national account director. In this position, he will grow the company's healthcare business and be responsible for the development of business in the southern states. He comes to the position from Associated Paper, where he was an account manager. Prior to that, he also worked with Unisource as a national account manager.

Stephen Fair was named the company's finance controller. Prior to joining Network Services, Fair was the manager of capital planning and cash flow for Cardinal Health Medical Products.

In other organization news, the Smart Card Alliance elected its 2006-2007 executive committee at the organization's annual conference in San Diego last week. Elected to the executive committee: as chair, Greg Garback, executive officer of finance and program development for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; as vice chair, Wendy Humphrey, vice president transaction devices, First Data Corp.; as treasurer, Francine Dubois, director of marketing, financial products and services, Oberthur Card Systems; as secretary, Carey Miller, senior manager, BearingPoint's Security and Identity Management Practice; as technology vice chair, Bryan Ichikawa, identification solutions architect, Unisys; as assistant treasurer, Robert Wilberger, senior manager, PriceWaterhouseCoopers; and as assistant secretary, Gerald Hubbard, government business development manager, Datacard Group.

Five other newly elected or re-elected members to the Alliance board include: Iana Bohmer, director, identity management solutions, Northrop Grumman; Christian Juettner, group vice president, Giesecke & Devrient; John McKeon, secure identity solutions executive, IBM; Neville Pattinson, director of technology and government affairs, Gemalto; and Brian Triplett, senior vice president of emerging product development, Visa USA.

In other supplier news, Cindy Coughlin was appointed to the position of product manager of digital imaging for InteliCoat Technologies. She joins the company from the William E. Wright Co., located in West Warren, R.I., where she served in a product management position. Coughlin also served in marketing and market management roles with Omniglow Corp. and Empire Imports.

Ed McCarron, director of marketing of digital imaging for InteliCoat said, "We are excited to have a person with Cindy's capabilities join us. She has a strong background in marketing at several local companies. I am confident that she will have an immediate positive impact both on our company and on our ability to support our digital customers."

In additional supplier news, Achor Packaging appointed Armando Perez to the position of district sales manager for the central south region. In this position, Perez will manage the sales of Anchor products in Texas, Oklahoma, western Tennessee and Arkansas. He will report directly to Joe Pinkowski, the director of sales for the central region. Perez comes to the company from PepsiCo, where he served as the field franchise manager. Before this, Perez worked for Sysco Food Services in Dallas.