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Gillette Names Nabisco Alum As CEO

January 22, 2001

BOSTON (AP) _ James M. Kilts, who played key executive roles at Kraft Foods and later at Nabisco, has been chosen as chairman and chief executive of the struggling shaving products giant Gillette Co.

``His broad-based consumer marketing background and decisive management style make him uniquely qualified to lead The Gillette Company into an era of sustained, profitable growth,″ Richard R. Pivirotto, chairman of the board’s search committee, said in announcing the hiring on Monday.

Kilts, 52, was president and chief executive at Nabisco, the maker of Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers, and directed a successful turnaround there before it was sold to Philip Morris Cos. last year.

Before that, he was executive vice president in charge of Philip Morris’s worldwide food group with brands like Maxwell House coffee, Oscar Mayer meats and Jell-O desserts. He had been responsible for integrating Kraft and General Foods worldwide and shaping the group’s strategy.

``With a rigorous financial and management discipline, we will continue Gillette’s brand ledership, extend its marketing preeminence and bring even greater excitement and value to existing and new products,″ Kilts said.

``It should be decent for the stock near-term,″ said Andrew Quilling, director at UBS Warburg in New York. ``Longer-term, it should frankly be good for Gillette from a cultural standpoint. It’s a company that’s fairly insular, and I think the outside blood can be helpful.″

The company’s shares were up 68 cents, or just over 2 percent, to $34.38 in trading Monday morning on the New York Stock Exchange.

Acting chief executive officer Edward F. DeGraan will continue as president and chief operating officer, positions he was elected to in July. DeGraan became acting chief executive in October after the departure of Michael C. Hawley, who was fired by the board.

Gillette announced last month it planned to eliminate 2,700 jobs, or about 8 percent of its work force, and close eight factories and 13 distribution centers as part of a plan to boost its profit growth.

The company makes and sells a wide range of products, but is known most notably for its razors and toiletry products for both men and women. It also produces alkaline batteries, hair products, toothbrushes, and small household appliances.

Gillette has 54 manufacturing facilities in 20 countries and distributes products in over 200 countries and territories.


On the Net:

Gillette site: http://www.gillette.com

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