CHICAGO: In a break with 114 years of tradition the family-controlled Wm Wrigley Jr Company has appointed an outsider as its new ceo. William Perez, the ousted head of Nike, will lead the world's number one chewing gum maker immediately.

He succeeds Bill Wrigley Jr, who will stay "actively engaged" with the business in the new role of executive chairman.

Under Bill's leadership Wrigley has aggressively pursued growth opportunities. It bought the Life Savers and Altoids brands from Kraft Food for $1.5 billion (€1.19bn; £802m) two years ago [WARC News: 17-Nov-04] after failing to acquire Hershey Foods [WARC News: 21-Oct-02].

Bill says the change was not prompted by concern over the company's performance. Rather, he wants to focus on long-term strategy such as the company's expansion into emerging markets.

Comments analyst David Nelson from Credit Suisse: "The biggest positive here is that management now seems to recognize that it needed to change from a paternal culture to a professional one. This is a step in the right direction."

Meanwhile, the maker of the Juicy Fruit brand said third-quarter profit grew 14% to $148m from $129.7m a year ago. Sales for the quarter grew around 11%, to $1.18bn from $1.06bn a year ago, helped by greater shipments of both gum and non-gum products.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff