Nestle USA today said that Brad Alford has been named chairman and chief executive officer of Nestle USA effective January 1, 2006. Alford will succeed Joe Weller, who is retiring after 37 years with Nestle, the last 11 years as chairman and CEO.

"After 37 years with Nestle, it gives me great pride to turn my role over to Brad Alford," said Weller. "His comprehensive business expertise and hands- on experience directing several Nestle businesses both in the U.S. and abroad position him well to bring Nestle to a new level in the US."

Alford is currently president and CEO of Nestle Brands Company, an operating unit of Nestle USA which includes brands such as Nestle Crunch , Wonka , Nestle Toll House , Nestle Coffee-Mate , Nescafe Taster's Choice , Libby's Juicy Juice , and Nestle Nesquik .

Alford is also responsible for Nestle's North American FoodServices business and Foreign Trade and Sales Divisions.

Alford has held various leadership positions within the company since joining Nestle in 1980 as a sales trainee for Carnation Company (Nestle acquired Carnation in 1985). He was head of sales and marketing for the Friskies PetCare Division of Nestle Australia in 1989. Returning to Nestle USA in 1992, he was president of a business unit within the FoodServices Division and in 1996 was named president of the FoodServices Division. In 1998, Brad returned to Australia as regional head of the Nestle Oceania market. Upon his return to the U.S. in 2000, Alford become president of the Confections & Snacks Division of Nestle USA and was named president and CEO of Nestle Brands Company in 2003.

"One of the legacies Joe leaves behind is a tremendous business portfolio with outstanding performance, which strongly positions us for the future," said Alford. "Building on his accomplishments, we will continue to focus on improving results and achieving our vision to be the very best food company in the US. Innovation with an emphasis on health and wellness will be key to our ongoing success as a company."