Kraft Foods Group Inc., Northfield, IL, has named John Cahill, chairman of the board of directors, chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods. He will succeed Tony Vernon, who will retire as CEO on Dec. 27, but stay on as a senior adviser through March 31, 2015, and as a director until the company’s next annual meeting in 2015.

Cahill joined Kraft on Jan. 2, 2012, as executive chairman designate, North American Grocery, and became executive chairman when the company spun off from Mondelez International in October 2012. He transitioned to a non-executive chairman role on March 8, 2014.

Cahill spent nine years with The Pepsi Bottling Group Inc., as chairman and CEO from 2003 to 2006 and executive chairman until 2007. He previously spent nine years with PepsiCo, Inc. a food and beverage company, in a variety of leadership positions.

“I'm honored to be appointed CEO, and I'm excited to lead Kraft through the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead,” says Cahill. “Since the launch of Kraft, I have worked closely with the senior leaders of the company and its world-class brand portfolio. The industry is undergoing a great deal of rapid change, and it is important that we keep pace and indeed stay ahead of these changes as we build a stronger Kraft.

"While our immediate priority will be to remain focused on delivering results, we will also take a fresh look at the business to prioritize our investments and focus on sustainable profit growth. I look forward to working with our talented team at Kraft on these efforts as we build upon the accomplishments over the last two years. We will have more to say about that in early 2015.”

Vernon has served as CEO since the company's spin-off from Mondelez International in October 2012. He is also a director of Kraft Foods Group. Prior to that, he was the company’s executive vice president and president, Kraft Foods North America.

“Tony has been a passionate leader and was instrumental in leading the creation of Kraft Foods Group two years ago as a result of the spin-off from Mondelez International Inc.,” says Mackey J. McDonald, lead independent director of Kraft Foods Group. “He has championed culture, brand-building and innovation during his tenure, which has led to multiple successful new products and brand rejuvenations, and raised the bar on recruitment and talent development. I want to extend my gratitude to Tony for his leadership and many contributions to Kraft on behalf of the board.

“With the company on solid footing after the spin-off, the time is right for new leadership to fulfill our potential as the industry leader. The board and Tony agree that we need to accelerate the pace of change.”