This leading business-woman serves as a role model for ambitious and aspiring women.
Irene was born to Jewish parents, Seymour and Joan Blecker in Westbury, New York on May 3, 1953. Her father’s parents were immigrants from Romania, while her mother’s family came from Germany. Irene did her schooling from W.
Tresper Clarke High School in Westbury, New York. She has a doctorate in Marketing and Statistics, a Master of Science in Business and a B.A in Psychology from Cornell University.
Irene started her career at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, an advertising agency based in New York. Associated with the food and beverage industry for over three decades, she worked with the General Foods in consumer research.
Irene was appointed as Chairperson and CEO of Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo. The onus to promote healthy products lay on her shoulders.
Irene’s career saw a new high, when she joined Kraft Foods as its CEO in 2006. One of her many achievements in Kraft Foods was streamlining and snowballing the volume of business in the US, Canada and Moscow.
Kraft Foods’ decision to split into two publicly traded companies, did not impact Irene’s position in the company. She was retained as the Chairperson of the $31 billion global snacking company, Mondel?z International, Inc. She took over the added post of Chairperson when the Altria Group split-off of Kraft Foods.
Irene is a part of several community and industrial organizations and serves on the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Board of Directors. She is associated with the Board of Trustees of the Cornell University. A member of the Economic Club of Chicago, Irene is on the Consumers Goods Forum Board of Directors.
Irene featured 48th on the Forbes executive pay-list, when she got a compensation of $19.288 million in 2010.
Irene was married to Philip Rosenfeld, her classmate from Cornell. Irene has two beautiful daughters, namely Carol and Allison from her marriage to Philip. After Philip’s death in 1995, she married Richard Illgen, an investment banker.
Irene was listed in the 15th position in Forbes list of 100 most powerful women in the world in 2014. She has featured several times on this list. She ranked sixth on "50 Women to Watch", The Wall Street Journal’s list.