Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Quaker Stands by Snapple Chairman Promises Return to Profits

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Quaker Stands by Snapple Chairman Promises Return to Profits

Article excerpt

Quaker Oats Chairman William D. Smithburg, sipping from a bottle of Snapple, defended the company's $1.7 billion purchase of the beverage brand Wednesday at a crowded shareholder meeting.

Smithburg acknowledged the company mishandled distribution and marketing of Snapple following the acquisition 11 months ago. But he said Snapple would be profitable again, citing Quaker's success with its Gatorade sports drink.

"My job is to build value for shareholders. My financial situation is closely aligned with all you shareholders," Smithburg, who owns 2 million shares, told the estimated 1,700 at the meeting in downtown Chicago.

Snapple sales will be down about 4.5 percent this year to $640 million, Quaker executives have said.

Smithburg - who is president, board chairman and chief executive since Phillip A. Martineau's surprise resignation as president last month - said he will continue to hold the three positions to be "more closely involved with the business and have shorter lines of communication. …

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