Michele Buck has been elected as the new chairman of the board of directors of The Hershey Company, making her one of just 21 other women to lead the board of a Fortune 500 company.

Buck will also continue in her current role as president and ceo of the confectionery and snacking company, a role she has held since March 2017.  

Buck succeeds Chairman Chuck Davis, who will reassume the role of lead independent director, a role he held from May 2017 until his appointment as chairman in May 2018.

The combination of the offices of CEO and Chairman of the Board underscores the Board’s confidence in Hershey, the existing management team and Buck, Hershey said.  

Under Buck’s leadership, Hershey has delivered strong financial results while successfully executing on the strategic vision of the company through portfolio expansion, profitable international growth, and positioning the company for future growth and value creation for all Hershey stakeholders.  

“For the past couple of years, I’ve had the honor to work closely with Chuck Davis in his role as chairman, and it has been an incredible opportunity to learn from one of the best,” Buck said. “I am privileged to succeed him as he reassumes the role of lead independent director. On behalf of everyone here at Hershey, I’d like to thank Chuck for his continued leadership and sage counsel as we position Hershey for another 125 years of success.”

Earlier this year, in an exclusive interview with Candy Industry, Buck discussed whether she believed being a woman impacted her approach to leading Hershey. 

When I walk into work each day, I don’t think about being a female CEO. I think about how I can be the best CEO for Hershey,” she said. “I’m incredibly proud to be breaking barriers for women at Hershey, but I realize that I stand on the shoulders of many women who came before me.”

She also offered some advice for women in the industry. 

“To put it simply, ask for more,” she said. “If you need more flexibility to better integrate your work and home life… ask for it. Raise your hand for a stretch assignment. Take an opportunity that you might not be fully prepared for. Go for it!”