NORTHFIELD, ILL. — Gerhard (Gerd) W. Pleuhs has been named executive vice-president, legal affairs and general counsel at Kraft Foods Inc. He will succeed Marc S. Firestone, who will leave the company in April to rejoin Philip Morris International in Lausanne, Switzerland. Mr. Firestone previously worked at PMI before coming to Kraft Foods in 2003. Mr. Pleuhs currently is senior vice-president and deputy general counsel for Kraft Foods.

Mr. Pleuhs joined the legal team at Jacobs Kaffee Deutschland in 1985, and he has assumed various legal positions of increasing responsibility throughout his career. In 1993, he was named chief counsel for Kraft Jacobs Suchard Germany, responsible for the legal and regulatory affairs for Kraft's business in Germany.

In 2000, he became vice-president and chief counsel for Kraft’s Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa region, based in Vienna. Three years later, he moved to the United States to become senior vice-president and general counsel, Kraft Foods International. He assumed his current role in 2007.

Mr. Pleuhs will continue to lead the legal function for the global snacks company when it launches later this year. Mr. Firestone had been slated to lead the legal function for the North American grocery company upon separation. With his departure, Kraft said it will initiate an internal and external search for candidates to fill that role.