The former Cadbury CEO is reported to have had talks with the US confectionery giant about joining its board. Hershey is believed to have first approached Stitzer several months ago, and is understood to have upped efforts to woo him in the past few weeks. With 27 years of confectionery market experience at Cadbury, Stitzer would seem a natural fit for the Kisses producer.
Hershey has ramped up its activity in the UK over the past year, appointing Euro Food Brands as its official importer and distributor in August, when Euro Food Brands MD Stephen Barlow said there were clear opportunities to boost Hershey's UK presence. In April, Asda started selling 12 Hershey's products, including retailer-exclusive Extra Creamy bars and a Kisses variant developed specially for UK shoppers.
Stitzer announced he was leaving Cadbury in February 2010, after shareholders accepted Kraft's £11.4bn takeover bid. Cadbury chairman Roger Carr and CFO Andrew Bonfield announced their departures at the same time. Kraft beat a number of global confectionery players, including Ferrero and Hershey, to the prize.
Writing in The Times in March this year, Stitzer said he was "sad and frustrated" over the sale of Cadbury. "Our team's pleasure was to deliver superior performance," he wrote. "We created significant shareholder value. The paradox is we lost the company. I should feel elated, but a year on I feel only the hollow sense of a great company lost."
Since leaving Cadbury, Stitzer has joined the advisory board of New York-based investment advisory firm Hamlin Capital Management. He has also been a non-executive director of Diageo since 2004.
Hershey is yet to appoint a successor to CEO David West, who moved to Del Monte last month, although that role is expected to go to COO John Bilbrey, who is acting as CEO on an interim basis.