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Hershey Foods Corp. Seeks New CEO

Updated:
HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) — Hershey Foods Corp. is looking for a new chief executive.

The nation's largest candymaker issued a brief statement Wednesday announcing that the company is searching for a successor to 61-year-old Kenneth L. Wolfe.

A Hershey spokesman declined further comment.

Wolfe was named chairman and CEO in 1994 after serving nine years as the company's president and chief operating officer.

He came under fire last year as Hershey Foods struggled with a new computerized distribution system and failed to fulfill all of its orders for holiday candy. Many stores ran short of Hershey brands including Milk Duds, Kit Kats and Twizzlers.

The new, $112 million distribution system was designed in part to help the company avoid Year 2000 computer problems. But glitches hampered delivery to retailers, resulting in disappointing sales and earnings last year.

The company's third-quarter results for this year, however, exceeded some analysts' expectations.

Earnings totaled $107.4 million, or 78 cents per share, for the quarter ending Oct. 1. That was up from $87.6 million, or 62 cents per share, during the same period last year.

On Wednesday, Hershey shares were up 87.5 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $59.88 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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