Previously the company’s chief commercial officer and senior vice president of markets, Kirkegaard replaces Robert A Sharpe, who is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities, said CSM.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, CSM has an international presence that includes 34 manufacturing facilities, 26 distribution centers and four innovation centers. The business has around 8,500 employees and operates in more than 100 countries.
James Singh, chairman of the CSM board of directors, said Sharpe had built a strong leadership team and forged “one global business culture” when CSM Bakery Products US and Europe and BakeMark were joined into a single company in 2014.
"We would also like to thank Bob Sharpe for his leadership during CSM's formative phase," added Singh. “Bob has provided the elements that constitute a solid foundation for growth."
Five years at CSM
New chief executive Kirkegaard joined CSM in 2011 after 20 years at Unilever in various commercial general management roles. She also worked at Carlsberg Group and the Coca-Cola Company in executive positions.
At CSM she has held senior marketing, sales and commercial roles, including senior vice president, products and marketing. She led the globalization and digitization of the company's sales and marketing capabilities, said CSM, as well as heading the development of new category and channel strategies and the optimization of the company's product portfolio.
Kirkegaard is a member of the board of directors of Swedish-Danish vegetable oils and fats producer AAK, and of Danish retail business Dansk Supermarked Group. She holds an Executive MBA from the Scandinavian International Management Institute and a Master's degree from the Aarhus School of Business.
'Extremely effective leader'
"Marianne Kirkegaard is an extremely effective leader and builder of businesses," said Singh.
"In her five years with CSM, she has played a key role in articulating our value proposition, creating our marketing, sales and business development capabilities, and building strong customer and industry relationships. She is the right person to lead CSM forward.”
CSM operates bakery brands including BakeMark, Brill, Meister Marken, Multifoods, Waldkorn, and Westco.