Kraft promotes Mudd amid shift toward a global focus

NORTHFIELD, IL: Michael Mudd has been promoted to EVP, global corporate affairs, at Kraft Foods as part of a major senior executive shake-up aimed at giving the company a more global business focus.

NORTHFIELD, IL: Michael Mudd has been promoted to EVP, global corporate affairs, at Kraft Foods as part of a major senior executive shake-up aimed at giving the company a more global business focus.

Mudd, 52, had been SVP, corporate affairs for Kraft Foods North America. In his new post, he'll be in charge of all corporate affairs and corporate responsibility functions worldwide.

Mudd's promotion, along with the creation of a global marketing function, was done by CEO Roger Deromedi to strengthen Kraft sales around the world.

"By moving quickly to create Kraft's new global 'One Company' structure, we can immediately begin to capture the 'best of global and best of local' and act with greater focus and speed than ever before," Deromedi said in a statement.

Turning Kraft into a global brand will require rising above its American image while connecting with local tastes, said Nicholas Kalm, a partner with Reputation Partners in Chicago.

"A US-centric brand position does not work terribly well" overseas, Kalm said.

Creating a global brand "is very challenging for any company, particularly any company based in the United States," he said. He pointed to Coca-Cola and McDonald's as the best examples of companies that have done it.

Still, given US sales problems for Kraft, "it makes absolute sense to do that," Kalm said of the decision to create a global positioning for the company. "If anybody can do it, Kraft can."

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