Kraft Foods Inc., Northfield, Ill., said former healthcare executiveW. Anthony (Tony) Vernonwill join the company in mid-August as President, Kraft Foods North America. He will report to Chairman & CEO Irene Rosenfeld and replaceRick Searer, who will retire at the end of September.

"For nearly 30 years, Rick has been an exceptional member of our team," noted Rosenfeld. "At every step on the corporate ladder, he achieved impressive business results. But more than that, Rick has a truly rare combination of intellect and humanity, insight and inspiration, drive and compassion. These are hallmarks of a great leader. We'll miss him."

Vernon is a 26-year veteran of the healthcare industry, principally in consumer businesses at Johnson & Johnson. There, he managed some of the company's multi-billion dollar businesses units responsible for such brands as Tylenol, Motrin, Pepcid AC, Imodium and Splenda. Most recently, Vernon was with the Ripplewood Holdings private equity firm in New York, N.Y."