Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Lindt & Spruengli AG promoted finance chief Dieter Weisskopf to the role of chief executive officer as Ernst Tanner splits the most senior roles at the Swiss chocolate maker after 22 years in charge.

The move will allow 69-year-old Tanner to focus on the group’s long-term strategic direction in the role of executive chairman, Kilchberg, Switzerland-based Lindt said in a statement after markets closed on Friday. The changes will take place by the end of this year.

Under Tanner, Lindt used the 2014 acquisition of Russell Stover to catapult past Nestle SA to third place in North America’s chocolate market, behind Hershey Co. and Mars Inc. More recently, the company has taken advantage of plummeting currencies to expand in Brazil and Russia.

Sales last year rose 7.1 percent on an organic basis, meeting the company’s targets, and should increase between 6 percent and 8 percent in the years ahead, it said in March.

Weisskopf, who began his career in banking, joined Lindt in 1995 as head of finance. Since 2004, he has also been responsible for the company’s manufacturing operations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Jarvis in London at pjarvis@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Boyle at mboyle20@bloomberg.net.

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