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Cadbury cuts middle layer of management; puts CEO in driver’s seat

BY Jenna Duncan

LONDON Cadbury today reported that it is revamping its management structure removing a layer of management and handing over the reins to chief executive officer Todd Stitzer to steer the company’s operational divisions.

“Our four region operational structure will be eliminated, leaving seven business units (listed in Appendix A) which will report directly to [Stitzer],” Cadbury said in a press statement. “At the same time, we are strengthening our global chocolate, gum and candy category structure, further increasing our focus on category development.”

The change will extract the company’s current regional management structure, removing layers and spreading out organizational tasks over other layers. The company hopes that the change will provide “faster decision making, improve in-market execution and ensure a stronger alignment of category strategies and commercial programs,” it has stated.

The removal of the management layer will affect 250 positions, many of them senior managers. Cadbury said that the changes were following a plan started in 2007 to restructure operations.

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Reily Foods plans to buy French Market coffee business

BY Jenna Duncan

NEW ORLEANS Reily Foods Company yesterday announced that it has made an agreement with French Market Coffee to purchase the business.

Reily Foods, the maker and distributor of such grocery store staples as Blue Plate mayonnaise, CDM coffee and Luzianne teas, has not reported the sum of its buyout offer for the iconic New Orleans French Market Coffee brand. Reily Foods said that it expects its purchase to expand the French Market brand into numerous new markets.

Before it is complete, the acquisition must be voted on by shareholder. However, the transaction is expected to be finished by the end of the year, published reports said.

Both American Coffee, the company that started the French Market Coffee tradition, and Reily Foods, are family-owned companies that are more than 100 years old.

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Jones Soda fighting tough times with new business plan

BY Melissa Valliant

SEATTLE Even the Jones’ are struggling to keep up these days.

Jones Soda will be eliminating 40 percent of its 110 employees this week in a plan to save $2.6 million annually. The 21-year-old company, known for its bottled, carbonated soft drinks and their unique flavors, recently announced a drastic drop in sales.

Last year proved a tough year as well, with an $11.6 million loss when founder Peter van Stolk led the company in an expansion plan that backfired. Jones Soda began producing canned sodas that were hoped to rival PepsiCo and Coca-Cola products.

Former Coca-Cola marketing executive Stephen Jones then replaced van Stolk with the initial strategy of increasing the number of distributors and increasing canned soda sales. This plan crashed and burned this year, and Jones now plans to revert back to the company’s original roots by focusing on selling the sodas at more independent delis and pizza places, cutting back on the canned soda initiative and reducing the amount of distributors. The company has even made a deal with independent graphic novel publisher Dark Horse Comics to add cartoon images to the soda bottle labels.

“Consumers are looking for variety, something unique in this huge market,” Gary Hemphill, managing director at the Beverage Marketing Corporation, said. “Growth in this industry is coming from the smaller niches of the market, where I would include Jones Soda.”

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