By Colin Kellaher
Hershey Co. (HSY) Monday said it named President and Chief Executive Michele Buck to the additional position of chairman.
The Hershey, Pa., candy maker said Ms. Buck succeeds Chuck Davis, who will reassume the role of lead independent director, which he held from May 2017 until his appointment as chairman in May 2018.
The move reunites the posts of chairman and CEO at Hershey, where they had been split since Ms. Buck succeeded J.P. Bilbrey as chief executive in March 2017. Mr. Bilbrey then served as nonexecutive chairman until his retirement last year, when Mr. Davis became chairman.
Corporate governance experts, shareholders and regulators have been prodding public companies to separate the top roles amid the notion that a standalone chairman can act as a counterweight to a standalone CEO.
Hershey Monday said the move to combine the offices underscores its board's confidence in the company, its management team and Ms. Buck.
Ms. Buck, who joined Hershey in 2005 from Kraft Foods Inc., was elevated to the top job months after the chocolate company rejected a takeover bid by Mondelez International.
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