Wrigley Taps First Outsider as CEO

Former Nike chief William Perez will replace Bill Wrigley Jr.
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Wm Wrigley


named former


(NKE) - Get Report

executive William Perez president and CEO, marking the first time the gum company has tapped an outsider of the Wrigley family for the top positions.

The company, which also reported higher-than-expected third-quarter earnings, said former president and CEO Bill Wrigley Jr. will continue as chairman.

"To continue to effectively drive our dynamic and highly competitive global company, I firmly believe this is the right time to divide the top leadership responsibilities between two people, particularly given today's commercial and governance climate," said Bill Wrigley Jr. in a statement.

Bill Wrigley, who had been CEO since 1999, said he recommended bringing Perez on as CEO, and the board "wholeheartedly" accepted the plan.

Perez, 59, served as president and CEO of Nike from 2004 until earlier this year, when he resigned following differences with the sneaker giant's chairman and founder, Phil Knight. Prior to joining Nike, Perez spent 34 years at privately held consumer products company SC Johnson.

Separately, Wm Wrigley reported third-quarter earnings of $148 million, or 53 cents a share, up from $129.7 million, or 46 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding restructuring charges and stock option costs, earnings would have been 57 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call anticipated earnings of 51 cents a share, excluding the 2-cent restructuring charge but including options expense.

Sales climbed to $1.18 billion from $1.06 billion, topping Wall Street's estimate of $1.15 billion.

In the U.S., sales rose 9% on a 7% percent increase in volume. Wrigley said it had strong gains from its Orbit, Life Savers, Orbit White, and Doublemint Twins brands.