US confectionery group The Hershey Company has appointed David J. West as executive vice president, chief operating officer, with immediate effect.

The company said that West, formerly the company's senior vice president, chief financial officer, will continue to report to chairman, president and chief operating officer Richard H. Lenny.

As chief operating officer, West will be responsible for the company's day-to-day operations, including Hershey's North American Commercial Group, International Commercial Group, and global supply chain activities.

"Dave's broad experience throughout the Hershey organisation makes him well suited to be our chief operating officer," Lenny said. "Dave has provided exceptional leadership in the areas of finance and sales while at Hershey, earning the respect of the financial community and our customers. He also was instrumental in the development of our value-enhancing strategy, as we delivered strong performance and tapped the vast potential of Hershey's iconic brands. Dave's in-depth knowledge and collaborative leadership style will be invaluable as we build Hershey's momentum and aggressively pursue the company's growth opportunities."

West, 43, first joined Hershey in May 2001 as vice president, business planning and development. Prior to joining Hershey, he was senior vice president, chief financial officer at Nabisco Biscuit and Snacks Group.

The company has not named a successor to West as chief financial officer, but said a search was underway to find a replacement. West will continue to hold the position of chief financial officer until his successor is named, the company said.