MPs condemned Kraft’s chief executive Irene Rosenfeld (pictured) in the strongest language yet yesterday for refusing to give evidence about the firm’s £11.5bn acquisition of Cadbury.
Kraft’s third refusal for Rosenfeld to meet MPs either in person or via a videoconference “fell short of an explicit contempt of the House, but not by much”, the Business, Innovation and Skills select committee’s report into progress since the deal said.
MPs also attacked Kraft for making “misleading” communications about last year’s Takeover Panel ruling, and proposed changes to the Takeover Code to prevent firms backtracking on claims that help to secure deals.
The report said MPs still had “significant concerns” about the takeover, and that Kraft had failed to provide them with enough detail of its hiring and firing since acquiring Cadbury.
While in 2010 Kraft said it would make some staff from both firms redundant and merge or move office functions, the report said its progress report “avoided reference to most of these announcements”. But it said Kraft’s creation of 50 new posts at Bournville and plans to recruit 50 new R&D staff were “all good news”.
Explaining Rosenfeld’s refusal to meet MPs, Kraft general counsel Marc Firestone said via email that “there seems to be a desire to have a ‘star witness’ towards whom ill-founded allegations and insults can be made, with little or no attempt to discuss the facts.”
MPs said Firestone “showed a distinct lack of judgement” as “the authority to close factories…rested not with him but primarily with Ms Rosenfeld.”