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Slumping Kraft Heinz names new CEO

By AFP
media Kraft Heinz announced it will replace its chief executive as it tries to pivot from a series of setbacks, including writedowns of the trademark for Kraft and Oscar Mayer GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

US food giant Kraft Heinz announced Monday it will replace its chief executive as it 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.

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.

Shares of Kraft Heinz rose 1.3 percent to $33.40 in early trading.

 
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