Brian T. Gladden

Brian T. Gladden
Former EVP and CFO
Mondelez International, Inc.

Last Updated: 08/06/2018

Executive Summary

Gladden was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Mondelez International between 2014 and 2018. Gladden joined Mondelez 10 months after he left Dell Inc., where he was one of several senior executives who departed after the company completed a leverage buyout of its shareholders in October 2013. He served as Chief Financial Officer at the company from 2008 to 2014. Gladden joined Dell after brief stints as President and Chief Executive Officer at GE Plastics and then SABIC Innovative Plastics, as the division was known after its May 2007 sale to Saudi Basic Industries Corporation. Gladden began his career in 1988 at General Electric Company, where he held various financial positions until his May 1992 elevation to Corporate Auditor. He was named Finance Manager of GE Healthcare in June 1997 and became Vice President and Chief Financial Officer with GE Plastics in 2002, where he was named President just before the division’s sale to the Saudi firm. Gladden holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Finance from Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania.

Personal Attributes and Interests

  • On a podcast on the topic of leadership, Gladden while at Dell said he was proud of the fact that he met with all 5,000 people in the finance organization over the first 120 days of his tenure.
  • Gladden is a firm believer in meritocracy. He sends a strong message that those who get things done with a high degree of integrity are the ones who are going to be rewarded with better opportunities.
  • He frequently serves as a conference speaker.
  • Gladden was tapped as Mondelez International’s CFO as part of a broader restructuring in which David Brearton, whom Gladden replaced, took on a new role at Mondelez’s joint venture with D.E Master Blenders 1753 of Europe. Mondelez unveiled plans earlier in 2014 to combine its coffee business with D.E Master Blenders to create a more formidable rival to Nestlé SA. The joint venture, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, closed in 2015 and created the world’s leading pure-play coffee company with more than $7 billion in revenue. Both Gladden and Brearton report to Mondelez International Chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld. Under the deal, Gladden gets a base salary of $900,000, with millions of dollars in potential bonuses. "Adding Brian to our leadership team will accelerate our progress in becoming the best snacking company in the world," Rosenfeld said when he was hired. "Brian has a proven track record in financial and operating discipline, aggressive cost management to expand margins and fund growth, and building and leading a global business services operation. This background, together with his extensive experience operating in emerging markets, creating shareholder value and developing talent, will greatly benefit our global organization and our shareholders." "I am very excited to partner with Irene and the entire Mondelez International team to help accelerate the aggressive transformation agenda that the company has launched. I look forward to working with Dave and ensuring a seamless transition. I can’t wait to get started," said Gladden.

Current Focus

  • Enter Fast-Growing Premium Cookie Segment: In June 2018, Mondelez acquired Tate's Bake Shop, a premium cookie brand, for about $500 million, reported Food Business News. “The Tate’s Bake Shop acquisition represents the type of bolt-on transaction that will leverage our strengths and drive growth and value for our shareholders,” said CEO Dirk Van de Put. “Tate’s on-trend products complement our existing biscuits portfolio and provide access into the fast-growing premium cookie segment. We‘re excited to begin working with the Tate’s team to expand the reach of this beloved authentic brand to more consumers around the world.” Mondelēz International is operating Tate’s as a separate standalone business under its current management team to nurture its entrepreneurial spirit and maintain the authenticity of the brand while providing resources to accelerate growth. Tate’s will, however, benefit from the unparalleled distribution channels and sales and marketing capabilities of Mondelēz International to extend its popular treats to more consumers and build upon a strong track record of profitable growth.
  • Global Strategy: CEO Dirk Van de Put announced a strategic review that will be unveiled in September 2018. During a presentation at the Sanford Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in May 2018, CEO Dirk Van de Put offered hints at the changes he and his management team may be considering, Food Business News reported. One focus will be achieving a balance between top-line and bottom-line growth. “In the last four years, we have increased our bottom line by over 600 basis points,” he said. “We did that through major restructuring of our supply chain. We did that through implementation of Z.B.B. (zero-based budgeting) and very stringent cost exercise, plus we created shared services… We now need to go into the next phase, where the cost focus still remains quite important, but we need to combine that with top-line growth.” Top-line growth will come from a decentralized go-to-market strategy and a more agile innovation process. “Our local teams need to be the drivers of the agenda,” Van de Put said. “And the center needs to be in service of those local agendas. So that’s a big change for us as a company. “And, secondly, the whole model of how you build brands, how you do innovation in this industry has changed. And you need to be much more nimble, much faster, experiment more. And that’s also a little bit opposite of what we used to do. So those are two big changes that I need to drive as soon as possible.” Mondelez has found success with its acquisitions of Enjoy Life Foods and the Vietnamese brand Kinh Do. But Van de Put said finding such bolt-on acquisitions is challenging and the company must place an equal emphasis on its internal innovation pipeline. He said he sees the company’s Chcobakery concept, which involves combining Mondelez’s biscuits and chocolate brands, as having a very long innovation runway. “What it (Chocobakery) has is it’s usually a very unique product that people do not find,” Van de Put said. “It’s two very powerful and very known brands, and it’s an intriguing combination. “It was launched about three to four years ago in Europe, and it keeps on growing double digits in Europe. We’ve launched in Brazil, where it’s already taken 3% of market share in less than a year in the biscuits market. And we launched it in Russia, where it’s also quite a big success. So, we see here runway for that innovation to be extended all over the world.” Mondelez’s product portfolio features a variety of snacks that are impulse buys at retail. Van de Put said the changes taking place at retail, with sales shifting online and consumers ordering and picking up products or having them delivered to their home, will challenge companies that are reliant on the impulse buy. Using the company’s Oreo brand as an example, Van de Put said Mondelez is working to replicate such impulse buying online. “…For the Americans here, Oreo is consumed with milk usually,” he said. “So, if the consumer would be ordering milk (online), he would get a pop-up saying, ‘Why don’t you buy some Oreos with the milk?’ It’s a different impulse, but it’s trying to stimulate that same behavior online.” When asked to name the biggest disruptive force that challenges Mondelez’s business, Van de Put said, “the consumer.” He said, “And that means the local consumer. While we feel that the world is more connected than ever, the differences between consumer behaviors and what they really want are bigger than ever. And they're driven by online and the availability of any product at anytime, anywhere. So, for us to get that right and to adapt ourselves as a big food company to do that – change our innovation, change our marketing, change the way we do branding, change how we move and operate as a company — that is the biggest thing we need to change.”
  • Focus for Future Strategic Framework: Four focus areas sit at the heart of Mondelez International’s future strategic framework, CEO Dirk Van de Put told participants during a presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in February 2018.  Business Banking reported:
    • First, the company needs to be “nimble, innovative and fast-moving.” Van de Put said the company must constantly modernize its portfolio and keep it relevant with changing consumer needs. To that end, the company has made many changes across the world. In North America, Mondelez has introduced non-G.M.O. and organic Triscuit crackers, while in Europe the company has added gluten-free, sugar-free and palm-free options within its regional biscuit brands. The biggest bright spot in the innovative space, though, has been belVita, Van de Put said. “It’s a breakfast biscuit that offers whole grains and sustained energy in a convenient on-the-go format,” he said. “Our teams have done a fantastic job turning this brand into a global success, with more than $600 million in revenue from more than 50 countries.”
    • Another focus area for Mondelez will center on expanding and extending the company’s power brands to accelerate growth. In the United Kingdom, Mondelez has been able to leverage the success of its Cadbury chocolate business, extending the brand’s reach into biscuits. “About 18 months ago, we acquired the license to market Cadbury-branded biscuits globally,” Van de Put said. “This allowed us to explore delicious new products by using a combination of our chocolate and biscuit platforms. It’s been a great success. Cadbury biscuits in the U.K. have grown more than 60% in the last year. It was driven by our unique chocobakery combinations.”
    • Future omnichannel expansion is a third area of focus for Mondelez. Acknowledging this is not a new concept, Van de Put explained that the company is committed to building a strong e-commerce business and is well on its way to reaching $1 billion in revenues by 2020. One way the company is expanding in this space is through unique offerings.
    • The fourth and final focus area for Mondelez will be excellence in execution. While the company has done well in some areas — supply chain reinvention and cost reductions — it has struggled in other areas, such as customer service difficulties in North America, Van de Put said. In terms of its supply chain reinvention program, Mondelez’s execution has been “consistently strong” and has yielded “significant benefits,” Van de Put said. “We’ve dramatically reduced the number of s.k.u.s and focused on fewer, more strategic suppliers,” he said. “We’ve driven large cost savings and operational efficiencies, including best-in-class productivity, which has led to a significant expansion of our gross margins and an improvement of more than 60 days in our cash conversion cycle. And our Lines of the Future are delivering higher output efficiency than expected, which is giving us more capacity to support our growth. I think the supply chain reinvention program is a great example of how this company knows how to execute, taking one of the industry’s oldest and least efficient supply chains, modernizing it into a competitive advantage.”
  • Malware Incident: Gladden provided more details on the recent malware incident, telling analysts in August 2017, “On June 27, like many other companies, we were globally impacted by an unprecedented malware incident. For the last four days of the quarter and into the third quarter, we had limited ability to ship and invoice customers in many markets. Our teams managed to keep many of our manufacturing facilities running, which was a critical accomplishment. We executed our business continuity and contingency plans to contain the impact of the incident and minimize business disruption with a focus on consumers and customers…we've worked tirelessly to restore our systems and recover from the disruption. Although we've now restored the majority of our affected systems, in a few cases, parts of our supply chain have still not fully recovered, and we anticipate some impacts in our third quarter. We'll also incur some additional one-time costs related to the incident during the second half… the malware incident had a negative impact of approximately 240 basis points to organic net revenue, or about $140 million. We expect to recover a majority of the delayed second quarter shipments in our third quarter, and we've made good progress in shipping these orders during the month of July. We did, however, permanently lose some revenue due to shorter supply chains, mis-promotions and lost consumption in some markets…we do not believe the incident has had any long-term impact to our customer relationships or market share. We're pleased with our execution during this crisis and believe that our business continuity plans were effective in minimizing the impact to our customers and to our ongoing financial results. We are conducting a comprehensive review of the incident to determine any potential opportunities to further improve the security of our global systems environment. Currently, we do not expect the required investments to be material to our results. This event has underscored the resiliency of our team and their ability to pull together in the face of adversity. I'd like to thank our teams for their tireless efforts to put us back on track and ensure that we're focused most importantly on our customers and consumers.”
  • Big Bet on Millennials: Mondelēz International launched a brand to go after millennials' hunger for healthier options and unique ingredients, according to a 2017 Advertising Age article. The brand, dubbed Véa (pronounced vay-a), is an acknowledgment by the company that while people still want to snack, they want food they feel better about eating. Consumer tastes and snacking habits have been changing. People said they want healthier products and more are craving snacks on the savory side. Véa's ingredients include butternut squash, chickpeas, coconut and quinoa. The company said its seed crackers, mini-crunch bars and what it describes as "world crisps" have no artificial colors or flavors, and are Non-GMO Project Verified. The line is aimed at millennials for whom "food is an adventure," said Jason Levine, VP of North America biscuit marketing. Mondelēz said it brought the brand to market quickly, within about 18 months from concept to launch, using research to hit the right notes, including partnering with Google to get consumer feedback. For now, Véa is only available in the U.S. and Canada, with plans to expand into other countries over time. "It's a fanciful name with a nice Latin root, meant to signify a voyage or a journey," Chief Growth Officer Tim Cofer said back in February 2017 when Mondelēz announced plans for Véa's July debut. "We wanted to build a global brand from scratch."
  • Strategic Alliance with Amazon India: Mondelez India, a part of Mondelez Internationa,l entered into a strategic alliance with Amazon India in 2017 to establish India’s first virtual chocolate and sweet store, reported Franchise India. “eCommerce is the fastest-growing channel for our business. At Mondelez International, we are committed to creating delicious moments of joy for our consumers and in each of our key markets. Globally, we have an ambitious target to generate $1bn in e-commerce revenue by 2020, and we’re focusing our investments strategically on associations that help us develop best in class sales & distribution proficiencies with strong go-to-market capabilities,” said Abhishek Ahluwalia, e-Commerce Lead, Mondelez India. This partnership is an exciting opportunity for the company to tap into the e-commerce market providing an additional channel for consumers. As part of this first-of-its-kind Chocolate & Sweet Store, the company is also enhancing the gifting experience for consumers, where one can purchase not only the conventional gift packs but exclusive e-commerce packs as per the relevant occasion, as part of Mondelez India’s ‘Joy Deliveries’ offering. The Chocolate & Sweet Store will focus on the gifting segment and tailor offerings for individual consumers– enhancing its gifting portfolio. With its year-round Joy deliveries will offer features such as customization, bundled offerings, and options to choose from multiple gift packaging to suit important occasions like Raksha Bandhan, Diwali etc. and year-round occasions that’ll help say ‘Happy Birthday’, ‘Thank You’, ‘Congratulations’ etc.
  • Opens Research Hub in Poland: Mondelez International inaugurated its newest global Technical Center in Wroclaw, Poland, Global Newswire reported in 2017. The facility will support new products and technologies for many of the company's iconic power brands, including Milka and Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate as well as Oreo, bel Vita and Barni biscuits. The Wroclaw Technical Center is part of the company's $65 million investment in nine large R&D hubs, strategically positioned around the globe. The centers will enable Mondelez to better recruit, retain and develop talent across a range of science and technical disciplines while accelerating the company's growth and innovation. The center will be home to nearly 250 experts - scientists, engineers and other specialists from all over the world. The site is equipped with innovation labs, a large pilot plant and a "collaboration kitchen" - a creative space of 9,500 square meters for new ideas and experimentation. The Wroclaw Technical Center will closely collaborate on innovations with more than 40 sites in our manufacturing network across Europe. "With these advantaged Technical Centers, we're focusing our investment in research, equipment and capabilities, driving innovation to support our growth strategy, margin and quality platforms," said Rob Hargrove, EVP, research, development, quality, and innovation. "These R&D hubs will improve speed, efficiency and effectiveness, while The Wroclaw hub joins four other Mondelez International Technical Centers - East Hanover, New Jersey, in the United States; Curitiba in Brazil; Bournville and Reading, both in the UK - that are already in full operation. The remainder of the company's network of redesigned Technical Centers - in India, Singapore, Mexico and China - are expected to open in the second half of 2017 and in 2018.

Biographical Highlights

  • Born in 1965,
  • Gladden earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Finance in 1987 from Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania.
  • He is a graduate of SABIC’s Financial Management Program.
  • Gladden joined General Electric Company in 1988 and over the next 19 years held the following positions:
    • Various financial and management positions (1988 - May 1992)
    • Corporate Auditor (May 1992 - June 1997)
    • Manager, Global Financial Planning and Analysis, GE Medical Systems (June 1997 - 1998)
    • Global Integration Manager and Chief Financial Officer, GE Marquette Medical Systems (1998)
    • Finance Manager, GE Healthcare (June 1997 - November 2000)
    • Vice President and GE, GE Medical Systems Healthcare IT business
    • VP and CFO, GE Plastics (2002 - 2007)
    • President and Chief Executive Officer (2007)
  • In May 2007 GE sold its Plastics unit to SABIC and Gladden briefly remained with what became SABIC Innovative Plastics.
  • He served as Senior Vice President and CFO of Dell Inc. from May 2008 to February 2014.
  • Gladden joined Mondelez International in October 2014 and in December 2014 was named Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, a role which he held until July 2018.

Other Boards and Organizations

  • Co-Chair, Tech, CFO Leadership Group
  • Member, Advisory Council, University of Texas McCombs School of Business