WMU News

Kellogg VP spending retirement as exec-in-residence

May 9, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Phil Straniero once dreamed of retirement days filled with sunshine and golf, but because of his passion for both the food business and a Western Michigan University program, the former Kellogg executive's golf game now shares time with his new mission--building relationships between WMU and his former colleagues around the nation.

Straniero, who retired as vice president for sales development after 30 years with the Kellogg Co., recently began a three-year, volunteer stint as an executive-in-residence in the Haworth College of Business. He is focusing on industry relations for WMU's Food Marketing Program, one of the nation's most respected programs in the field. Straniero is working with executives from companies like Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, Meijer, Procter & Gamble, Kroger and Wal-Mart--not to mention his own former employer--to secure internships for students, promote the program and its graduates, and solicit financial support for scholarships and other initiatives.

"We're delighted that Phil Straniero has joined the Haworth College of Business," says Dr. James W. Schmotter, dean of the college. "Outreach to our business partners is one of the most important components of the Food Marketing Program at WMU. Phil's industrywide experience and contacts will expand these efforts dramatically. And it's also really great to have such a role model of executive leadership and success in the college dealing with students on a regular basis."

Before retiring, Straniero served as a member of the University's Food Marketing Advisory board for eight years, taking on the vice-chairmanship of the program's annual conference in 2000 and 2001. A graduate of Kent State University, he began his career with Kellogg in 1971 as a sales representative. He held a variety of positions around the country, eventually earning a promotion to the company's headquarters in Battle Creek, Mich., where he served as vice president for trade marketing and vice president for customer development, among other posts. In his final position as vice president for sales development, Straniero was responsible for all sales activities related to the company's U.S. merger and acquisition activities. He participated in the acquisitions of Worthington Foods, Kashi Foods and the Keebler Co.

"This position was a chance for me to stay involved with the food industry and do something I love--sharing what I've learned about this business with young people," says Straniero, who is also an adjunct professor of marketing and frequently participates in food marketing courses. "WMU's food marketing program is, without a doubt, the best in the country. It focuses on a specialized niche, but it's still part of a respected, accredited marketing program. When I hired interns at Kellogg, I took every WMU food marketing student I could get. The program is an excellent source for top-notch young people looking for exciting careers in the food industry."

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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