NEW YORK (AP) _ The president of the U.S. cookie and cracker business at Nabisco Holdings Corp. is leaving and he is being replaced by a top executive from Pillsbury Co.

James J. Postl, 51, is leaving Nabisco after less than three years as head of the Nabisco Biscuit Co., whose brands include Oreo and SnackWell's cookies and Ritz crackers.

Nabisco spokesman Henry A. Sandbach said Postl was leaving ``by mutual agreement'' and declined to elaborate.

Postl is being replaced by Richard H. Lenny, 46, a former executive of Kraft Foods who joined Pillsbury in 1995 and was president of its North American operations for two years until he resigned early last month.

James Kilts, the Nabisco Holdings president and chief executive who announced the changes, said Lenny has a strong background in general management, sales and experience with direct store delivery systems.

The Nabisco Biscuit division reported a 15 percent increase in operating earnings last year excluding onetime items.

But sales fell 4 percent to $3.55 billion, and a reorganization of the sales force was taking longer than expected.

Nabisco Holdings shares rose $2.625 to close at $44.00 on the New York Stock Exchange on a strong day for the overall market.