James M. Kilts

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James M. Kilts (born February 10, 1948) is an American businessman and former CEO of The Gillette Company. He negotiated the sale of the company to Procter & Gamble for US$57 billion. Press investigators estimate that he stood to gain more than $165 million personally in the purchase. Kilts is currently a partner at Centerview Partners, an investment banking and private equity firm based in New York City.

He had been the subject of intense criticism from the Boston press, namely the Boston Globe and Boston Herald daily newspapers, for his role in the merger with Procter & Gamble.

He was then elected to the Board of Directors at The New York Times Company in 2005.

Kilts is a 1970 graduate of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, and received his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In addition, as an undergraduate student at Knox College, Kilts was also a member of the Delta Chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.

Early life[edit]


Kilts gained his first exposure to the food industry in high school, when he began working during the summers for General Foods in his hometown of Chicago. After graduating from high school, Kilts enrolled at Knox College in nearby Galesburg, Illinois. He received a BA in history from the school in 1970. He earned a position with General Foods after receiving his undergraduate degree. Kilts later enrolled at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, where he completed a master of business administration degree in marketing in 1974.

Kilts remained with General Foods after he received his graduate degree. He held a series of lower-level executive positions for the next 10 years. He was promoted in 1984 to the position of vice president and division manager of consumer products for Oscar Mayer Foods, a division of General Foods. During the following year he was named president of Kraft Limited Canada, a position that he held from 1985 through 1987. He returned to Kraft General Foods in 1987, serving as senior vice president for strategy and development. Kilts was appointed president of Kraft USA and Oscar Mayer in 1989.

Professional life[edit]


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