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Nestlé shares rise after CFO appointment

Investors have given a cautious welcome to Nestlé’s appointment of an American female executive from Wal-Mart Stores to be its new chief financial officer (CFO).

Shares of the world’s biggest food group gained around one per cent as analysts said Wan Ling Martello’s experience of the retail industry and emerging markets would be a boost for the Vevey-based maker of Nescafé coffee and KitKat chocolate bars.

Martello, 53, a US citizen of Chinese and Philippine origin, currently at the world’s biggest retailer, will take over on April 1 from 65-year-old Canadian James Singh, who is retiring after 35 years with the Swiss food giant.

“The surprise is that the new CFO is from outside Nestlé... We believe however that Ms Martello will bring a breadth of knowledge in finance, emerging markets, retailers and e-commerce, among others,” said Vontobel analyst Jean-Philippe Bertschy.

Nestlé has a wide range of nationality across its senior management team and four of its 15 board members are females. However, Martello will become the first woman on Nestlé’s 14-person executive committee since Petraea Heynike retired as head of all strategic business units in April.

Nestlé shares gained one per cent to SFr49.93 ($55.80) during morning trading, outperforming a 0.6 per cent firmer European food and beverage sector. and agencies

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