Confectionary giant Hershey Foods Corporation today (Monday) announced a number of steps "in support of its value-enhancing strategy," including a name change to "The Hershey Company," and the formation of two new business groups.

"We established our value-enhancing strategy and embarked upon our mission to execute it consistently and predictably in October 2001," said Richard H. Lenny, chairman, president and CEO. "The steps announced today are designed to further support this value-enhancing strategy as well as to build upon the marketplace strength we've achieved over the past three years."

In commenting upon the board of directors' recommendation that stockholders vote to change the company's name to "The Hershey Company," Lenny said, "We're asking our stockholders to adopt the new name as this is how our consumers and customers best know us. The new name conveys our long-term focus on Hershey being a leading confectionery and snack company. We're retaining our iconic name and enduring heritage as the key component of our corporate identity."

The company also announced that it has formed two new business groups; a US confectionery business group and a US snacks business group. Thomas K. Hernquist, the company's current senior vice president, chief marketing officer, has been named senior vice president, president US confectionery. A search currently is underway for a president of the US snacks business group.

"We're confident in our ability to sustain Hershey's superior performance and to extend our reach within core confectionery and the broader $65bn snacks market," Lenny said. "With the creation of these new business groups, we'll bring sharper focus and energy to Hershey's unique, long-term growth opportunities in each of these markets," said Lenny."