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Fortune’s Stephanie Mehta recently sat down with Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit in Laguna Niguel, CA., and they had an interesting exchange when discussing the decision to split.On October 1st, Kraft cleaved itself into two businesses — snacks (Mondelez International) and groceries (Kraft Foods Group). Rosenfeld is in charge of Mondelez.
Mehta asked her about empire-building. Why would she split the company in two and reduce the size of her empire?
Rosenfeld had a fantastic response.
From Fortune’s unedited transcript (emphasis ours):
MEHTA: Irene was number-one on last year’s Most Powerful Women list. And as those of you who have been to the summit before know, part of the process of ranking women depends on the size of the woman’s business, the overall scale of the operation that she oversees. By deciding to split your company into two smaller individuals companies, you basically talked yourself out of the number-one position. So, the question I have is: As a leader, talk a little bit about the thought process that goes through ceding some of your empire.
ROSENFELD: Well, as a woman, I don’t have to tell you that size is not everything. (Laughter, applause.) It is fascinating to me, so many of my male colleagues have been so bothered about how could you make your empire smaller, not larger? But I come back to the fact that we see an opportunity to create two great companies from the beginnings of one. And I think as I said before, I’m quite pleased with the reaction that we’ve gotten from the market. Time will tell as we deliver on the commitments that we’ve made, but I’m quite confident that these two companies are well positioned to deliver the kinds of results that will be the envy of each of their respective industries.
MEHTA: Nice use of the word “envy.” (Laughter.)
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