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Del Monte Foods Appoints David J. West as CEO

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David J. West. (PRNewsFoto/Del Monte Foods Co., Bryson Leidich)

Del Monte Foods Co. announced today that it has appointed David J. West as its new CEO, effective August 15. West also will join the company’s board of directors in June.

West joins Del Monte from The Hershey Company where he is currently President and CEO. He will replace Neil Harrison, Del Monte’s interim-CEO, who will remain on the board of directors. Harrison was appointed as Del Monte’s interim CEO after the company was acquired by an investor group led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (“KKR”), Vestar Capital Partners (“Vestar”) and Centerview Capital (“Centerview”). The acquisition was completed on March 8.

West has spent nearly 25 years in the food industry and has been Hershey’s CEO since 2007. Prior to his CEO role, he held various leadership positions at Hershey including COO, CFO, chief customer officer and SVP of strategy and business development. Earlier in his career, he served as SVP and CFO at Nabisco Biscuit and Snacks Group.

During West’s tenure as CEO, Hershey accelerated top and bottom-line growth by increasing its investment in its U.S. and international operations, improving the effectiveness of its supply chain and business model, and accelerating its advertising, brand building and distribution programs. Hershey reported strong profits and net sales growth in 2010 and, since year end 2007, total shareholder returns, including dividends, have exceeded 60 percent.

“We’re thrilled that an executive of Dave’s caliber will be leading Del Monte in the next phase of its development and growth. Dave brings with him an outstanding track record of brand building and investment for growth and we are confident he has the leadership credentials and experience to move the company forward,” said Del Monte board members Simon Brown (KKR), Brian Ratzan (Vestar) and David Hooper (Centerview).

West is a graduate of Bucknell University.

Del Monte Foods is one of the country’s largest and most well-known producers, distributors and marketers of premium quality, branded pet products and food products for the U.S. retail market, generating approximately $3.7 billion in net sales in fiscal 2010.

Pet food and pet snacks brands include Meow Mix, Kibbles ‘n Bits, Milk-Bone, 9Lives, Pup-Peroni, Gravy Train, Nature’s Recipe, Canine Carry-Outs and other brand names. Food product brands include Del Monte, Contadina, S&W, College Inn and other brand names. The Company also produces and distributes private label pet products and food products.

For more information on Del Monte Foods Company, visit the company’s website at www.delmonte.com.

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