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10 Things You Didn't Know about Hershey CEO Michele Buck

CEO Michele Buck

Michele Buck is both the President and the CEO of the Hershey Company. As such, she is a very influential figure in the world of food manufacturing, particularly since she is the first woman to rise to said position at said company.

1. Focused on Business Administration From the Start

There are some CEOs who start out in other fields before focusing on business administration. In contrast, other CEOs focus on business administration from the very start. Buck is an excellent example of the latter, seeing as how she went for a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Shippensburg University before continuing on for a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina.

2. Used to Be with Kraft Foods

Buck has been in food manufacturing for a very long time. For instance, she was an 11-year veteran when she was chosen to become the new CEO of the Hershey Company. However, it is important to note that she was already a high-ranking executive at Kraft Foods when she headed on over to the Hershey Company. When Buck was still with Kraft Foods, she had managed to rise through the ranks because of her expertise and experience in marketing.

3. Came to Her Position At a Sensitive Time

When Buck was named as the next CEO of the Hershey Company, the company was in what one might call a sensitive period. In short, the Hershey Company has been impacted by the same negative trends as other food manufacturing giants, with an excellent example being a consumer preference for upstart newcomers compared to their bigger and better-established counterparts. On top of that, the existing leadership of the Hershey Company had just managed to fend off a takeover attempt by Mondelez that fell through when the latter realized that there was no potential path forward.

4. "Unabashed Optimist"

When interviewed at around the New Year, Buck stated that she was an unabashed optimist. It is interesting to note that she also planned to be grateful for her then still new role as the CEO of one of the biggest food manufacturing companies in the United States, which was very much an extension of her usual attitude on the matter.

5. Has Been Very Involved in Acquisitions

Both before and after becoming the CEO of the Hershey Company, Buck has been very involved in expanding the company's operations via acquisitions. In short, a lot of food manufacturing companies have been very active in buying up new brands, which can provide them with new sources of revenue from new customer bases. As a result, it is no wonder that the Hershey Company is so active in this regard, particularly since consumer preferences when it comes to snacks have seen some serious changes in recent times.

6. Very Selective About Acquisitions

With that said, it is important to note that Buck has been very selective when it comes to potential acquisitions, so much so that she and the rest of her leadership team reject most of the opportunities that come up for their consideration. This makes sense because acquisitions tend to be very expensive, both because of the initial payout and because of the sums that will have to be expended in order to integrate into the rest of the company's operations. As such, acquisitions aren't the kind of thing that most companies can afford to get wrong, seeing as how a bad buy can end up becoming a drain on their resources for years and years to come.

7. Keeping a Watchful Eye on CBD

In recent times, the use of the cannabis compound CBD has become a popular topic when it comes to manufactured foods. However, Buck has stated that while the Hershey Company is keeping a watchful eye on the trend, it has no plans of getting involved in the present time. This makes perfect sense because the FDA is still in the process of figuring out how to regulate the cannabis compound in the United States, meaning that premature action could result in some serious penalties for those who mess up. Currently, there are various start-ups that are already getting involved in making foods that contain CBD, but bigger, higher-profile companies such as the Hershey Company can't get away with such activities with the same kind of ease.

8. Has Called Herself a "Chief Energy Officer"

CEO stands for Chief Executive Officer, but it is interesting to note that Buck has been known to call herself a "Chief Energy Officer" instead. Essentially, it is a reference to her opinion that her role is to inspire and harness the energy of the Hershey Company's employees in reaching towards the company's overall vision.

9. Believes that Compassion and Competitiveness Can Be Balanced

Speaking of which, Buck has expressed views that are sympathetic towards the position that companies can reach for competitiveness without sacrificing compassion in the process. As such, it will be interesting to see the Hershey Company's record in this regard in the times to come. Unsurprisingly, chocolate companies being chocolate companies, the Hershey Company has come under massive criticism in the not too distant past because of concerns over child labor and other serious ethical issues in its supply chain.

10. Believes that Compassion Has Been a Part of the Hershey Company From the Start

With that said, Buck does seem to take such matters seriously. Moreover, she has actually voiced an opinion that concern for others has been a part of the Hershey Company from the very start by citing how the founder Milton Hershey and his wife dedicated most of their massive fortune to helping others. Something that was motivated in part by the fact that the couple couldn't have children of their own.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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