West has spent nine years at Hershey

West has spent nine years at Hershey

Former Hershey chief executive Dave West has been named as Del Monte Foods' new CEO.

West's departure from Hershey was announced earlier todagroup.

Hours later, Del Monte confirmed that West would join the canned food maker's board of directors next month and become its CEO in August.

West's departure from Hershey, after almost four years leading the chocolate giant, hit the company's shares. Hershey's stock was down 3.18% at US$55.27 at 11:32 ET today.

Del Monte, which was acquired by a consortium led by private-equity groups KKR, Vestar Capital Partners and Centerview Capital in March, said West had "accelerated" Hershey's "top- and bottom-line growth".

Since the end of 2007, Del Monte pointed out, shareholder returns, including dividends had increased at Hershey by 60%.

"We're thrilled that an executive of Dave's calibre will be leading Del Monte in the next phase of its development and growth. Dave brings with him an outstanding track record of brand building and investment for growth and we are confident he has the leadership credentials and experience to move the company forward," said Del Monte board members Simon Brown of KKR, Brian Ratzan from Vestar and Centerview's David Hooper.

West, who joined Hershey in 2002 as senior vice president for sales, claimed he was "honoured" to join Del Monte "at such an exciting time".