NORTHFIELD, ILL. — W. Anthony Vernon will become president of Kraft Foods North America in mid-August, according to the company. Mr. Vernon will replace Rick Searer, who will retire at the end of September.

Mr. Vernon joins Kraft Foods from Ripplewood Holdings, a private equity firm. Prior to joining Ripplewood, he spent 23 years with Johnson & Johnson where he led many of that company’s largest consumer brands such as Tylenol, Motrin, Pepcid and Splenda.

He will report to Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and chief executive officer of Kraft Foods.

"Tony has an impressive history of building and sustaining iconic consumer brands," Ms. Rosenfeld said. "His strong track record of growth through consumer-driven innovation, world-class marketing and strong retail relationships will help to further accelerate our business performance."