By Jennifer Erb
2016-08-252016-09-01https://wvuieleaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/[email protected]WVU IE200px200px
Frank Cerminara came to America from Italy when he was 8 years old. When he arrived at WVU, he couldn’t believe how lucky he was. He didn’t think he could afford to go to college. He originally signed up for ChE, but a friend talked him into transferring to Industrial Engineering.
When Frank was a senior, his advisor helped him with an application to the Wharton School of Business for an MBA program. Frank recalls that he was able to waive most of the prerequisite courses required of MBA students. He found that he could compete with any of his classmates at Wharton and graduated with a high GPA.
Another friend of Frank’s talked him into interviewing with Hershey. While Frank had many offers, he liked the culture of Hershey and the community.
Frank started his career at Hershey in finance/accounting because of his MBA. He wanted to get more of a sense of the customer, so he did a five year assignment in marketing/ sales.
When Hershey hired a new CFO, Frank was asked to come back to finance and manage the commodities side of the business. Commodity purchase strategies were critical to Hershey and this gave Frank a lot of exposure.
During Frank’s career at Hershey, he was involved in the purchase of a number of brand name companies including Peter Paul/Cadbury, Ronzoni pasta, PayDay and Twizzlers.
At age 52, Frank was appointed the CFO of Hershey. Frank looks back on his career and is especially proud of how he made the company more efficient. “The 80/20 principle I learned as a sophomore was a guide to a lot of the work I did,” Frank says.
Towards the end of Frank’s career, he was faced with a tough assignment. The Hershey Trust, the dominant owner of Hershey stock, wanted to sell Hershey. Frank met with potential buyers, but did so with a heavy heart. The sale of Hershey would have a devastating impact on the Hershey community and the culture of the company. At the last minute, the Trust decided not to sell.
Frank was the first Industrial Engineering graduate to be selected for the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 2004. Frank is now retired and enjoying spending time with his grandchildren.
Frank Cerminara retired from Hershey as its Senior Vice President and Chief Financial officer in 2005. Prior to that he held numerous senior executives positions including:
Frank began his career with Hershey after graduating with an MBA from the Wharton School of Business in 1972. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from West Virginia University in 1970.
Frank was born in Savelli Italy and immigrated with his family to the United States when he was 8 years old.
In 2004, Frank was the first Industrial Engineering graduate to be selected in the Academy of Distinguished Alumni at WVU.