Is CEO Irene Rosenfeld laying the groundwork for her exit from Mondelez?

Is CEO Irene Rosenfeld laying the groundwork for her exit from Mondelez?

Mondelez International is reportedly preparing to launch a search for a successor to long-standing chairman and chief executive Irene Rosenfeld. 

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed sauce, the company has hired recruiting company Heidrick & Struggles International. 

The board, the newspaper said, is considering external candidates to fill the role. Internal candidates include Tim Cofer, Mondelez's chief growth officer, and chief financial officer Brian Gladde. 

Representatives for Mondelez were not immediately available for comment. 

According to the report, the timing of Rosenfeld's exit has been left to her discretion and Heidrick & Struggles have not yet been asked to start interviewing prospects. 

Mondelez reported a 12.5% drop in 2016 revenue. The group was hit by the economic slowdown in emerging economies and increasing demand for healthy snacks which dented demand for its high-sugar confections.

The company has previously come under pressure from activist shareholders Nelson Peltz and Bill Ackman to increase returns by improving its performance or selling off the business. Speculation has centred on a possible merger with Kraft Heinz