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Hostess Brands Inc., Irving, Texas, the maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, says that Gregory F. Rayburn, who it tapped as chief restructuring officer Feb. 22, will take the helm as president and chief executive officer, following the departure of Brian Driscoll, who abruptly resigned from the post. Hostess went into bankruptcy in January.
The news comes one month after Hostess reportedly launched a bid to give millions of dollars to Driscoll under a fresh employment deal. Calling Driscoll the "architect" of a plan to reduce costs and restructure its pension plans, Hostess stated that “without the certainty of Driscoll's commitment and access to his business, industry and key customer contacts at this time could put the debtors and their restructuring as a going concern at tremendous risk, given the limited duration of the debtors' post-petition financing facility." The company referenced its $75 million bankruptcy loan deal.
Since then, the company suggested that Rayburn, with 29 years of experience helping troubled companies, was now the key to its ability to weather a tumultuous labor dispute and crushing costs. “His experience and proven track record in leading companies through critical transitions is precisely what Hostess needs at this point," the company said in a statement.
Rayburn, a managing partner with Kobi Partners LLC, is a veteran of the restructuring industry, and served as an executive for companies including WorldCom and Magna Entertainment Corp. Driscoll’s roots were in the food industry. He arrived at Hostess in June 2010 after stints at Kraft Foods and its Nabisco unit, and Nestle SA's Nestle Foods.
Hostess is scheduled to go back to court on March 23, when a trial on its bid to shed its union contracts in bankruptcy is slated to start.