LAKE FOREST, ILL. — Michael A. Miles, former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Kraft Inc., died Nov. 10. He was 74 years old.
Mr. Miles got his start in the food industry with Heublein Inc., a subsidiary of R.J. Reynolds Industries Inc. At Heublein, he was senior vice president of foods and chairman of Kentucky Fried Chicken. He joined Kraft in 1982 and was named president and c.e.o. of the company in 1986. He led the company during its acquisition by Philip Morris in 1989, which at the time was one of the largest merger and acquisition deals ever.
Mr. Miles resigned from the board of Philip Morris Companies Inc. in June 1994. His resignation came less than a month after the Philip Morris board took no action on a proposal to separate the company’s tobacco and food operations. Securities analysts speculated at the time that the board’s inaction on the proposal to uncouple the two businesses may have prompted Mr. Miles’ departure.
Mr. Miles later became a special limited partner at Forstmann Little & Co., a private equity firm, and served on numerous boards, including Dell Computer, Time-Warner, Sears and American Airlines.
“Michael has left a great legacy at Kraft and in our industry, and we continue to honor his commitment to developing the talent of tomorrow,” said W. Anthony Vernon, chief executive officer of Kraft Foods Group, Inc. “Our deepest sympathies go out to the Miles family.”
In 1987, Mr. Miles survived a white-water rafting accident in Canada that killed five American advertising executives.