The company is tapping longtime Anheuser-Busch InBev executive Miguel Patricio to replace Bernardo Hees, who has led Kraft Heinz since the company was created in a 2015 merger orchestrated by Omaha investor Warren Buffett and 3G Capital, a private equity firm. Patricio served for several years as chief marketing officer at Anheuser-Busch, which counts 3G Capital’s founders as some of its biggest shareholders.
Hees has been on shaky footing since February 2017, when Kraft Heinz made a blockbuster bid to buy Unilever for $143 billion. The talks leaked and the deal fell apart. Since then, Kraft Heinz’s shares have been hammered, wiping out $70 billion in market value.
Patricio has been based in New York but will relocate to Chicago as he joins Kraft Heinz, which makes a host of products including Oscar Mayer hot dogs and Heinz ketchup. He’ll officially take the reins July 1, giving him more than two months to develop a strategy as he transitions from beer to the food industry.
“I bring fresh eyes to the business,” he said. “It’s a big opportunity.’’
Patricio said one of his first jobs will be laying out his beliefs and strategy for the company’s thousands of employees.
“I need to almost be an evangelist in the company,” he said. “The CEO’s first concern has to be people.”
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