Hershey’s CEO Announces Plan To Step Down From His Chocolate Throne

Image courtesy of Jayu

In the town of Hershey, behind huge locked gates and a high wall sits an enormous chocolate company with smoke belching from its chimneys and strange whizzing sounds coming from deep inside. And outside the walls, for half a mile in every direction, the air is scented with the heavy rich smell of melting chocolate! And inside those walls, the reclusive genius behind it all plans to hand over his entire empire to one of five lucky Golden Ticket winners.

Okay, so it’s not exactly that dramatic, but Hershey Co. CEO John “JP” Bilbrey has decided it will soon be time to step down from ordering around a bunch of Oompa Loompas and hand that responsibility over to someone else.

The company says that the current plan is for Bilbrey to retire on July 1, 2017, giving the company’s board of directors ample time to weed out all the Augustus Gloops and Veruca Salts before finding a new Charlie Bucket.

The change in leadership in Hershey comes shortly after Mondelez — the horribly named parent company behind brands like Nabisco, Oreo, Ritz, Corn Nuts, Trident, and Tang — dropped its attempt to merge with the Pennsylvania-based chocolate giant to form a candy-coated Voltron.

Hershey has also been trying to expand its portfolio of products beyond those that appeal to the sweet tooth. Just recently, it acquired and added to the Krave line of high-end beef jerky and dried meat bars.

“I am confident that the board will identify an outstanding candidate to lead The Hershey Company through this next phase of growth,” said Bilbrey in a statement, presumably right before breaking into song.

The Wall Street Journal notes that while the failed Mondelez merger might have something to do with Bilbrey’s decision to walk away, a new CEO won’t necessarily make a different merger any more likely to succeed, as the Hershey Trust — which owns around 81% of the company — has historically been reluctant to such deals.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.