IRI names Richard Lenny chairman

CHICAGO — IRI on Tuesday named Richard Lenny chairman of its board of directors. Lenny succeeds Lawrence Benjamin, who will remain a member of the board and a senior adviser.

“I am deeply appreciative to Larry for his personal guidance, tremendous contributions to IRI and his continued involvement on the board and support of the business,” stated Andrew Appel, IRI president and CEO. “During the past two years, Larry has made a significant impact on our business through his tireless energy and passionate focus on our retailer and manufacturer clients.”

“Rick brings to IRI an impressive background, including more than three decades of experience in the consumer packaged goods arena, and we are thrilled to have him picking up the torch and helping us drive our ‘Growth Delivered’ strategy forward,” Appel added. “His experience with the client side of our business and resounding track record of leadership success will provide unique perspective to help us accomplish our most critical objectives and exceed our clients’ expectations.”

Lenny previously served as chairman, president and CEO of Hershey Co. Prior to Hershey, Lenny was president of Nabisco Biscuit Co. When acquired by Kraft in 2000, Lenny was named group VP Kraft Foods and president of Nabisco Biscuit and Snacks.

Lenny joined Nabisco in 1998 from Pillsbury Co., where he was president of Pillsbury, North America. Prior to this, he spent 18 years at Kraft Foods, where he held a number of senior marketing and sales positions.

Lenny is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and holds an MBA with honors in marketing and finance, as well as a bachelor’s degree in marketing, magna cum laude, from Georgia State University, which named Lenny to its 2007 Business Hall of Fame and awarded him the 2005 Alumni Achievement Award.

Lenny currently serves on the board of directors of McDonald’s Corp., Discover Financial Services and ConAgra Foods. Lenny previously served on the board of directors of Sunoco and also was chairman of the board of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and chaired its executive committee. In 2008, he received GMA’s Hall of Achievement award. 

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