Swiss food giant Nestlé has named its new chief financial officer and also announced its decision to set up a Nestlé Growth Fund with a committed capital of €500m (US$602.8m) to be invested over five to seven years.

Nestlé said the new fund is intended to help the company grow promising new businesses in the area of science and nutrition into a size that could allow them to be integrated into mainstream business units of the group.

“The new step will contribute significantly to fostering and accelerating the group’s expansion into Health, Wellness and Nutrition, as the new fund will be investing in companies with products or processes in the final testing stage or about to come on the market,” the company said.

Nestlé’s board has allowed Wolfgang Reichenberger, currently CFO of Nestlé, to run this fund by forming a partnership with Dr. Gunnar Weikert, founder and chairman of Inventages Venture Capital Investments. Reichenberger will therefore leave Nestlé in January 2006 in order to devote himself full-time to creating this new partnership, and to manage the fund.

As a result, the board has appointed Paul Polman, formerly group president of Procter & Gamble Europe, to succeed Reichenberger as CFO of Nestlé on 1 January 2006.