Rosenfeld said she regretted failing to achieve top-line growth, "In hindsight, I think perhaps we could have gone after the costs a little faster...to have the fuel to invest in our growth a little bit sooner."
But, she added: "I'm proud of the pivot that we made to more aggressively go after costs and improve margins" in 2013 to 2014.
In conjunction with its second-quarter earnings report, Mondelez announced Wednesday, that Rosenfeld, who's been with Mondelez and its predecessor for over a decade, will be replaced by Dirk Van de Put, the CEO of Canada's privately held McCain Foods. Prior to McCain, Van de Put has worked at Novartis AG (NVS - Get Report) , Danone (DANOY) , Coca-Cola Co. (KO - Get Report) and Mars Inc. Rosenfeld said Van de Put's hiring followed "thorough, multiyear" succession-planning process considering internal and external candidates.
Rosenfeld joined Mondelez, then known as Kraft Foods Inc., as CEO in 2006, when it was "a US-centric conglomerate with a vast portfolio of undersupported brands," Rosenfeld told analysts on the Wednesday call. Under her tenure, the company paid nearly $20 billion for chocolate maker Cadbury, spun off its U.S. grocery business and created the world's largest pure-play coffee company, Jacobs Douwe Egberts. The grocery business, Kraft Foods Group Inc., merged in 2015 with H.J. Heinz Co., forming Kraft Heinz Co. (KHC - Get Report) . She's been dogged by rumors of her impending departure, however, as Mondelez, like many packaged food companies, has struggled to grow. Activist shareholders including Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Management LP and Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management LP own sizable Mondelez stakes and have periodically urged the company to sell itself, with potential buyers including Kraft Heinz and PepsiCo Inc. (PEP - Get Report) .
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Now, Rosenfeld said, 87% of the company's net revenue comes from snacks, and the company is in over 165 countries, with nearly 40% of sales in emerging markets. She also touted Belgium-born Van de Put's international experience, telling analysts, "He's lived and worked on three continents."
"I've never been more confident in our plans and in our momentum," she said, adding, "I'll be cheering loudly from the sidelines as a sizable shareholder."
Van de Put takes the helm in November and will also join Deerfield, Ill.-based Mondelez's board. Rosenfeld will remain chairman until March 31, 2018, when Van de Put will replace her.
While Rosenfeld would not confirm that Van de Put would maintain Mondelez's 2018 adjusted operating income margin target of 17% to 18%, she said he's familiar with the company's goals and "ambidextrous," able to achieve both top- and bottom-line growth.
The other focus of the call was the impact of a June 27 malware attack, which hit Mondelez and many other large companies. The incident caused "meaningful disruption in our ability to ship and invoice during the last four days of the quarter," CFO Brian Gladden said, hurting the second-quarter's net revenue and organic net revenue by 2.3% and 2.4%, respectively. With the impact of the malware attack subtracted, organic net revenue would have been flat, he said, and it "masked solid results in a number of areas."
During its fiscal second quarter, Mondelez posted adjusted earnings of 48 cents per share on net revenue of $5.99 billion, down 5% year over year. Analysts expected earnings of 46 cents per share on sales of $6 billion.
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