Kraft Heinz Co. said North America President Carlos Abrams-Rivera will succeed Miguel Patricio as the packaged-food giant’s chief executive officer.
(Bloomberg) — Kraft Heinz Co. said North America President Carlos Abrams-Rivera will succeed Miguel Patricio as the packaged-food giant’s chief executive officer.
Abrams-Rivera, 56, will become CEO and join the board Jan. 1, when Patricio, 57, will continue as chairman. Until then, Abrams-Rivera will assume added responsibilities as Kraft Heinz president while continuing to lead operations in the US and Canada. Patricio “will continue to be very involved” through his board role, a company spokesperson told Bloomberg in an email.
Stock reaction was muted on Monday, with Kraft Heinz shares down less than 1% in New York trading at 12:59 p.m The shares have slumped about 15% this year, compared with a gain of 16% for the S&P 500 Index. Since Patricio took over Kraft Heinz in mid-2019, Kraft Heinz shares have risen about 13%.
Abrams-Rivera joined Kraft Heinz in early 2020, about half a year after Patricio took the reins. Both were instrumental in stabilizing the company as it faced a US Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, weakening performance and a $15.4 billion writedown on some of its best-known brands — a sign of waning consumer appeal. The pandemic, which drove a wave of stockpiling amid mobility restrictions, helped to spark a rebound for the Pittsburgh-based owner of the Velveeta, Jell-O and Oscar Mayer brands.
“Carlos’ strategic and innovative mindset has been instrumental to Kraft Heinz’s transformation,” the company said in an emailed statement. Abrams-Rivera “rebuilt company culture,” the spokesperson said, adding that he “consistently delivered strong results” in North America, in both retail and food service.
Abrams-Rivera arrived from Campbell Soup Co., representing a rare outside hire for Kraft Heinz, which has turned to private equity firm 3G Capital for many key roles since the 2015 deal that created the company in its current form.
After taking over in 2019, Patricio announced a strategic overhaul that included streamlining operations, trimming the workforce and putting more marketing behind Kraft Heinz’s best brands. Since then, the company has unloaded its Planters peanuts and natural cheese businesses, settled with the SEC and, last year, announced the launch of a joint venture with the Jeff Bezos-backed plant-based-food startup NotCo.
In March 2022, S&P Global Ratings raised the company to an investment-grade rating from junk status.
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