One of The Hershey Company’s leading figures, Raymond Brace, is to retire after a 40-year career with the company.

Brace, currently senior vice president, global operations, is retiring effective May 2007. The company has begun an external search to fill this position.

In making the announcement, Richard H. Lenny, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the company said: “Ray has been a driving force at Hershey for the past 40-years. He has played a major role in Hershey’s success through his leadership of the global sourcing, engineering, manufacturing and logistics functions. Equally as important, Ray’s contribution and leadership go well beyond just our company. For 40-years, Ray’s commitment to the community and the Milton Hershey School are without equal. On all of these dimensions, Ray will be deeply missed.”

Brace joined The Hershey Company in 1967 as an industrial engineer and held a variety of positions in manufacturing, including assistant to the plant manager and plant manager, Hershey Plant. From 1987 until 1997, he served as vice president of manufacturing. He was promoted to vice president, operations in 1998 and was named senior vice president, operations in 1999. He was named to his current position in 2004.