HERSHEY, PA. — John P. Bilbrey has been named president and chief executive officer as well as a director of The Hershey Co., effective immediately. Mr. Bilbrey was named interim president and c.e.o. in mid-May. He succeeds David J. West who left to become c.e.o. of Del Monte Foods.

“J.P. has the experience, deep industry knowledge and the right skills to lead Hershey’s growth as it continues to evolve into a global company,” said James E. Nevels, chairman of the board. “Over the years, J.P. has built a very effective relationship with the board as well as with the various Hershey communities and constituencies.

He has earned the respect of Hershey’s customers, employees and stockholders and the confidence of this board. In determining how to best fill this position, the board unanimously concluded that J.P. is the right person to continue as president and c.e.o. and to lead the company into the future.”

Mr. Bilbrey has more than 30 years of global consumer packaged goods experience. Prior to being named interim president and c.e.o. in May, he was chief operating officer. From December 2007 to November 2010, he was senior vice-president, president, Hershey North America.

He joined Hershey in 2003 as senior vice-president, president, Hershey International. Before joining Hershey, Mr. Bilbrey held executive positions at Mission Foods and Danone Waters of North America, Inc., a division of Groupe Danone, Paris. Additionally, he spent 22 years at The Procter & Gamble Co., where he served in positions of increasing responsibility in both the U.S. domestic business as well as numerous international assignments.