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Mars names 2 key execs as it increases digital focus

BY David Salazar

MCLEAN, Va. — Mars has added two key hires to its digital team as it accelerates its digital innovation and growth efforts.

Sandeep Dadlani will become Mars’ chief digital officer, overseeing the company’s digital transformation agenda while improving effectiveness and efficiency of its existing tech platforms. Dadlani succeeds chief information officer Vittorio Cretella, who has been with Mars for 26 years and is set to retire, effective Sept. 1.

"Vittorio has been a committed leader and we thank him for his hard work and dedication during his decades-long career at Mars,” Mars CEO and president Grant Reid said. “We will be building on the solid foundations that he put in place to pave the way for our digital transformation.”

Dadlani has previously worked at global systems integration firm Infosys as president and head of Americas. Before that position, he served as head of the company’s manufacturing, retail, CPG and logistics practices. In his new role, he will report to Mars Global Services president Angela Mangiapane and CFO Claus Aagaard. He will be based in Mars’ New Jersey offices.

Also joining Mars is George Corbin, who will be the company’s chief digital demand officer, spearheading the company’s global digital demand transformation. He will work to make Mars’ e-commerce and digital businesses an integrated and seamless experience, as well as lead the relationship between Mars and key global digital commerce partners.

Corbin previously spent 14 years with Marriott International, where he served as SVP digital and led the company’s digital strategy. Before joining Marriott, he was managing director and VP digital strategy for a major internet consultancy. He will report to Mars chief customer and marketing officer Andrew Clarke. He will be based in Mars’ McLean, Va., offices.

"Digital is changing the way our consumers and customers experience our products and services. New expectations, competition, distribution channels and opportunities present themselves every day,” Reid said. “As we use digital capability to transform our business, we're delighted that Sandeep Dadlani and George Corbin will bring their depth of expertise in this area."

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Nestlé exploring potential sale of U.S. candy business

BY David Salazar

VEVEY, Switzerland —  Nestlé’s U.S. confectionery business could soon be in new hands. The company on Thursday announced that it was exploring strategic options for the division, including possible selling it, in efforts that it expects to complete by year’s end.

In 2016, the division had roughly $922.9 million (900 million Swiss francs) in sales for such brands as Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, LaffyTaffy, FunDip, Smarties and SkinnyCow, among several others, as well as international growth brand Crunch. The strategic review that Nestlé is undertaking will not include its Toll House baking products, nor will it expand beyond the UUnitedStates, with the company continuing to focus on its global brands —a portfolio that includes KitKat and had roughly $9 billion (8.8 billion Swiss francs) in sales last year.

The U.S. market represents the largest one for Nestlé, but the confectionery business makes up some 3% of its U.S. sales. The company said it would continue to invest in its U.S., where it leads in the pet care, bottled water, frozen meals, infant food and ice cream categories.

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Dove intros dark chocolate and peanut butter Promises

BY David Salazar

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. — Mars Chocolate North America’s Dove Chocolate brand announced a new addition recently. The brand is introducing peanut butter and dark chocolate Promises, which blends Dove dark chocolate and peanut butter crème, nationwide.

With peanut butter making up one of the chocolate category’s largest segments, Dove said its experts saw an opportunity to bring consumers a new spin on the classic pairing.

"At Dove Chocolate, we're always challenging ourselves to find new ways to satisfy our fans' palettes," Dove Chocolate brand director Kerry Cavanaugh said. "After the success we saw with the launch of Dove Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate Promises, we were confident fans would fall in love with the peanut butter pairing in our signature silky smooth dark chocolate variety."

The Promises are available in 7.94-oz. laydown bags for a suggested retail price of $4.09 to $4.79 and joins the existing dark chocolate line-up that includes: almond, sea salt and caramel; mint chocolate swirl; and mocha latte swirl. Dove Chocolate Promises also are available in milk chocolate flavors, including caramel and peanut butter.

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