Kraft Heinz announced Monday (22 April) that it will replace its chief executive as the US food giant tries to pivot from recent setbacks, including a giant asset write-down and regulatory probes.
The company said Miguel Patricio, who has been chief marketing officer at beer giant AB InBev, will become the chief executive at Kraft Heinz on July 1.
“Miguel is a proven business leader with a distinguished track record of building iconic consumer brands around the globe, driving top-line revenue growth through a focus on consumer-first marketing, innovation, and people development,” said Alex Behring, chairman of Kraft Heinz’s board of directors.
He will replace Bernardo Hees, who has led the company since the 2015 merger combining the ketchup maker with the company behind Jell-O and Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
Hees is also a partner at the Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, which collaborated with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway on the Kraft takeover. Analysts have blamed 3G’s severe cost-cutting approach for Kraft Heinz’s recent travails.
In February, Kraft Heinz shocked markets with a disastrous earnings announcement that included a $15.4 billion asset write-down and the disclosure of a US Securities and Exchange Commission probe into its procurement practices.
The company also announced a steep dividend cut.
A native of Portugal, Patricio also served in top posts at AB InBev in North America and Asia Pacific, “providing him with deep experience in growing businesses in developed an emerging markets,” Kraft Heinz said.
Prior to AB InBev, Patricio has worked at other consumer companies including Philip Morris, The Coca-Cola Company and Johnson & Johnson.
“Kraft Heinz is an incredible company with iconic brands that are loved around the world,” Patricio said. “It will be a privilege and an honor to lead such a talented group of employees as we focus on the consumer to capitalize on the growth opportunities that exist in the rapidly evolving food industry.”
(With inputs from AFP)