Bilbrey officially steps in as Hershey head

HERSHEY, Pa. — Just one month after filling in as the interim leader of chocolate giant Hershey, John Bilbrey officially took the reigns as president and CEO of the company.

Bilbrey also was elected to Hershey's board of directors, Hershey said Wednesday. Bilbrey, who served as the company's EVP and COO until May, replaced David West, who left his post after 10 years to become the chief executive at Del Monte Foods.

Commenting on his appointment, Bilbrey said that the company is on track to deliver 2011 net sales — including the impact of foreign currency exchange rates — and adjusted diluted earnings per share growth to be around the top of the company’s long-term 3% to 5% and 6% to 8% goals, respectively.

"It is a unique privilege to lead The Hershey Co. Hershey has iconic brands, exceptional people, unmatched capabilities and enormous potential," Bilbrey said. "I’m very grateful for the board’s confidence, and we are fully aligned on how to move the company forward. Our company is structured for global growth, and I look forward to building on our recent performance, consistent with Hershey’s great heritage and values."

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