Hershey’s CEO John Bilbrey plans to retire next year

NEW YORK (AP) – Hershey says CEO John Bilbrey plans to retire from the chocolate company next year.

The news comes less than two months after Oreo cookie maker Mondelez ended talks to buy Hershey, in a deal that would have brought together some of the world’s best known chocolate and snack brands. Hershey makes Reese’s peanut butter cups, Kisses and other chocolates and candies.

Bilbrey will retire on July 1, 2017 and stay on as a non-executive chairman. Bilbrey, who is 60, was named CEO five years ago and joined the Hershey, Pennsylvania-based company 13 years ago.

Hershey says its board has created a special committee to direct the CEO search process. The committee will review internal and external candidates.

Shares of The Hershey Co. gained 66 cents to $96.31 in morning trading.

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