Kraft Heinz, the struggling food conglomerate, has turned to former AB InBev marketer Miguel Patricio in a bid to turn its ailing fortunes around.
Current CEO Bernard Hees will remain in post until 30 June with Patricio stepping into his shoes the following day, ending a four-year spell as CEO of the combined group following the merger of Kraft and Heinz in 2015 – and a two-year stint as Heinz CEO before that.
Kraft Heinz has subsequently suffered a bout of indigestion after being forced to write off $15bn from the value of Kraft and Oscar Mayer.
Patricio has spent the past two decades at the Belgian brewer, holding down a variety of roles in that time which culminated in the post of chief marketing officer. Prior to AB InBev Patricio held marketing director roles at both Lego and Johnson & Johnson.
Confirming his appointment Patricio pledged to ‘focus on the consumer’ in order to improve performance at Kraft Heinz, which includes popular brands such as Heinz Ketchup, Maxwell House and Capri Sun.
The leadership change comes on the back of a $10.2bn loss reported by Kraft Heinz for 2018, a slowdown it has sought to blame on a variety of cost-cutting measures by 3G Capital, the private equity firm which now owns the business.
Critics argued that innovation and marketing budgets had paid a heavy price throughout the fat-cutting and zero-based budgeting exercise, but brand lead Eduardo Luz told The Drum this was a "misconception".