Ralcorp Holdings chairman William Stiritz is to become CEO of Post Holdings, the branded cereal maker that the US food company plans to create through its plan to split itself in two.

Stiritz had been lined up to be Post’s chairman after the split but will now also be the company’s chief executive, Ralcorp has announced.

The split, which is scheduled to take place by early next year, had been a key part of Ralcorp’s defence against takeover offers from ConAgra Foods, which tabled three offers for the company this year.

ConAgra’s ended its pursuit last week after Ralcorp again refused to hold talks with its fellow US food group. Ralcorp repeatedly argued that its plan to split in two would create more value for shareholders than a sale to ConAgra, although its stance has attracted criticism from some of its investors.

Stiritz’s planned appointment as Post CEO was not the only executive move announced by Ralcorp on Monday (26 September). Ralcorp also said James Holbrook, CEO of marketing firm EMAK Worldwide, would join Post as executive vice president for marketing next week.

Ralcorp said it planned to name the remainder of Post’s executive team by the end of the year.