'Arrogant' Kraft Boss Defies MPs Again on [Pounds Sterling]11bn Cadbury Deal

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Petre

THE boss of Cadbury's American owner has refused for a second time to answer MPs' questions about the controversial takeover of the British chocolate-maker.

Kraft chief executive Irene Rosenfeld infuriated the House of Commons' influential Business, Innovation and Skills Committee in March last year by snubbing its inquiry into the [pounds sterling]11.5 billion hostile takeover.

Now, Mrs Rosensfeld, ranked by Forbes magazine as the world's second-most powerful woman, has refused another invitation to attend the committee later this year, to the anger of its chairman, Adrian Bailey.

Instead she is again sending the American food giant's head of corporate and legal affairs, Marc Firestone, who was dismissed by critics as a 'PR man' when he stood in for her last March to face a barrage of hostile questions.

Mr Bailey, who has already branded Mrs Rosenfeld 'arrogant', has urged her to think again, saying Kraft's reputation was at stake. His intervention follows an outcry last year over Kraft's decision to renege on a pledge to keep open Cadbury's Somerdale factory near Bristol.

The plant's production of chocolate bars such as Crunchies, Curly Wurlys and Double Deckers moved to Poland before Christmas, resulting in the loss of hundreds of British jobs.

Kraft provoked fresh outrage last month by switching control of Cadbury to its European headquarters in Switzerland in a move that will save it millions of pounds in British corporation tax.

More than 28,000 Mail on Sunday readers supported this newspaper's campaign to 'Keep Cadbury British' during the bitter takeover battle just over a year ago.

Late last year, a similar number of readers backed a boycott of Kraft products until the American food firm ensures Cadbury pays its proper share of tax in this country. …