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Philip Morris wraps up former Kraft GC

Marc Firestone takes his talents to Switzerland

Fortunately he’s over the age of 18 because most parents would be concerned if their son just traded in his bag of Chips Ahoy! for a pack of Marlboros. Just days after resigning from Kraft Foods Inc., Marc Firestone immediately resurfaced at his previous employer, Philip Morris International (PMI).

Kraft’s executive vice president, corporate and legal affairs, and general counsel since 2006, Firestone announced his resignation last week to assume the GC role recently vacated by David Bernick. Firestone joined Kraft in 2003 and oversaw the company’s takeover of candy maker Cadbury in 2010.

"We sincerely thank Marc for his many contributions," Chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld said in a statement. "He provided critical leadership during some of our key transformational initiatives, including when we became a fully independent company from Altria, our acquisitions of LU and Cadbury, divestitures of numerous businesses, and significant litigation to protect and enhance our business. His wise counsel will be missed, but we respect his desire to return to a company and city that he knows well."

Prior to his near-decade at Kraft, Firestone previously worked for PMI. Originally joining the tobacco company in 1988, he held a variety of senior roles including senior vice president and general counsel.

The outgoing PMI CG Bernick left the company to pursue other opportunities. He joined the tobacco giant in 2010 after 31 years at Kirkland & Ellis.

At Kraft, Gerhard “Gerd” Pleuhs—the current senior vice president and deputy general counsel­—will fill Firestone’s vacant chair. Pleuhs has risen through the ranks in Kraft’s German businesses since 1985. In 2000, he was named vice president and chief counsel for the food company’s Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Then, in 2003, he moved across the pond to assume the role of senior vice president and GC of Kraft Foods International before rising to his most-recent position in 2007.

"While we're sorry to see Marc go, I'm very pleased that we have a terrific successor within Kraft Foods to lead our global legal team," Rosenfeld added. "Gerd has more than 25 years of corporate law experience. I'm confident that his intimate knowledge of our company will enable him to seamlessly step into the General Counsel role."

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