LANCASTER, Pennsylvania: Lagging US confectionery giant Hershey has quickly named chief operating officer David West as its new ceo to take over from incumbent Richard Lenny (pictured).

The appointment was made just a day after Lenny announced he is to retire at the end of the year.

Both executives joined Hershey from Kraft Foods in 2001.

In the last two years the chocolate maker has struggled with rivals and rising costs, and has been the subject of speculation about a link with UK-based Cadbury Schweppes.

During the second quarter of 2007 the firm's net income slumped to $3.55 million (€2.5m; £1.73m), from $97.9m the previous year, on sales of $1.05 billion.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff