Gum and confectionery group Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company has announced that its chief operating officer Ronald Waters is to take early retirement "to pursue other endeavours". The company further announced that Waters' responsibilities would be re-aligned within the company's executive leadership team.

Waters joined Wrigley in 1999 as chief financial officer, rising to become chief operating officer, a newly created role, in January 2004.

Bill Wrigley, the company's chairman, president and CEO, said: "During his tenure, Ron contributed significantly to the company's growth in the core gum business and to its expansion into the full confections category through two key acquisitions. We are on the right trajectory thanks to his contributions. As a leader, Ron has provided invaluable direction and counsel and has always lived our values of trust, dignity and respect."

Water's departure has precipitated some changes in the company's reporting structure. Peter Hempstead, senior vice president - worldwide strategy and new business, and Ralph Scozzafava, vice president - worldwide commercial operations, will now both report directly to Bill Wrigley, while Darrell Splithoff, senior vice president - worldwide supply chain, will report to Dushan Petrovich, senior vice president and chief administrative officer.