Irene Blecker Rosenfeld (b. 1953) was born in New York to a Jewish family of Romanian and German descent. She studied psychology at Cornell, then earned a Master’s in business, followed by a Ph.D. in marketing. Soon after, she got a job with an ad agency in New York, then worked in consumer research for General Foods, the company famous for its cereals, Jell-O, and Maxwell House coffee (and now owned by Altria Group Inc., formerly known as Philip Morris). In 2004, Rosenfeld was elected CEO of Frito-Lay, the company that makes Cheetos, Doritos, Tostitos, Lay’s, and Ruffles. During her successful tenure, she shifted the focus of the company towards healthier ingredients and products. Two years later, she moved on to become CEO of Kraft Foods (also owned by Altria). After overseeing a great deal of growth within Kraft, including the acquisition of Cadbury, the largest confectioner in the UK, Rosenfeld engineered the company’s split into two new corporations. She remained as chairwoman and CEO of the snacks division, now known as Mondelez International. This new multi-billion dollar company employs over 100,000 people globally, and makes popular foods like Oreos, Chips Ahoy!, Peek Freans, Toblerone, Halls, Ritz, and both Trident and Dentyne gums. Not surprisingly, Rosenfeld has been ranked by Forbes among the world’s most powerful women on multiple occasions. She currently lives in a Chicago suburb, where she is a central member of the local Reform synagogue. Rosenfeld is a noted philanthropist, too, known for discretely donating large sums of money to hospitals, schools, and other institutions. She is also an avid basketball player, tennis player, and rollerblader.
Words of the Week
Just as it is incumbent upon every Jew to put on tefillin every day, so is there an unequivocal duty which rests upon every individual, from the greatest scholar to the most simple of folk, to set aside a half-hour each day in which to think about the education of his children.
– Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneersohn, the 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe