11 Heinz executives depart as new CEO installs his team

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Most of the top level of management at the H.J. Heinz Co. has been skimmed off and sent packing, now that a new chief executive officer has begun working to find a new recipe for success at the Pittsburgh food company.

But the news Thursday that 11 executives would be moving on didn't exactly look like a house cleaning, since CEO Bernardo Hees promoted eight internal candidates, kept one executive in the same job and brought in only two outside executives. More hires could be named shortly, the company said.

Mr. Hees, the former Burger King CEO who took over the global ketchup maker after the $28 billion acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital went through June 7, was quick to emphasize the Heinz-grown flavor of his new senior leadership team.

"Notably, this announcement demonstrates the power and potential of meritocracy at work here at Heinz," he said in the official release. "As shown through today's various internal promotions and appointments, the company is focused on rewarding and promoting the best and brightest talent in the organization to lead Heinz moving forward."

Mr. Hees has refined the management structure set up by former CEO Bill Johnson, carving out a new part of the world for separate status. Emin Mammadov, who had most recently headed the company's Africa and Middle East segment, will serve in the new position of zone president of Heinz Russia, Turkey, and Middle East and Africa.

The other four global regions also will be headed by zone presidents, a new title under Mr. Hees, with Brendan Foley taking over the Heinz North America job, moving up from his role as president of U.S. consumer products.

Matt Hill, formerly the president of Heinz UK and Ireland, is the new zone president of Heinz Europe. Fernando Pocaterra, who has been area director of Heinz Latin America, is now the zone president there. Hein Schumacher, the president of Heinz China since 2011, is becoming zone president of Heinz Asia Pacific.

The day that the sale went through, Mr. Hees announced he was bringing in Paulo Basilio to serve as chief financial officer. Both of them are partners in 3G Capital and both formerly served as CEO of America Latina Logistica, a Latin American railroad and logistics company.

On Thursday, Eduardo Pelleissone joined the growing club of former America Latina Logistica CEOs at Heinz, taking the position of executive vice president of operations.

Other internal hires include Kristen Clark, who had been president of Heinz Canada and will now be the company's senior vice president and chief people officer; Andy Keatings, who has been with the company since 1994 and will be chief quality officer; and Dan Shaw, who becomes general counsel after serving as deputy general counsel for the past several years.

The only member of Mr. Johnson's management team who will be part of the new group going forward was Michael Mullen, who joined the company in 1998 and is staying on as senior vice president of corporate and government affairs, as well has having responsibility for the H.J. Heinz Company Foundation.

"I am honored by the opportunity to be part of Heinz's management team under Bernardo's dynamic leadership," said Mr. Mullen on Thursday. "I look forward to partnering with Bernardo and the rest of the management team to take Heinz to the next level."

For those trying to read the tea leaves, the tone of recent announcements from Heinz seems a bit different from the past, if only through small changes such as referring to executives by their first names rather than using more formal titles. Mr. Hees is widely expected to shift away from closed executive doors and toward open offices, something he reportedly favored at Burger King.

At Burger King, he and his management team also moved quickly to cut jobs and expenses. Analysts have speculated that Heinz, too, will see cost-cutting and perhaps sell off some product lines.

The top Heinz executives now out of work aren't exactly leaving empty-handed, with many of them included in golden parachute compensation disclosures -- showing they could be in line for millions of dollars -- that the company submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year during the merger process.

That includes David Moran, president and CEO of Heinz North America and global infant nutrition; Chris Warmoth, executive vice president, Heinz Asia Pacific; and Dave Woodward, president and CEO of Heinz Europe.

It also includes Ted Bobby, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary; Ed McMenamin, senior vice president, finance; Meg Nollen, senior vice president of strategy and investor relations; Steve Clark, senior vice president and chief people officer; Bob Ostryniec, senior vice president, chief supply chain officer and global enterprise risk management.

Not all of those identified Thursday as departing from Heinz were included in the SEC disclosures. Other executives exiting the company are Dave Ciesinski, vice president of transition; Roel van Neerbos, president, Heinz Continental Europe; and Diane Owen, senior vice president, corporate audit.

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Teresa F. Lindeman: tlindeman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2018. First Published June 20, 2013 2:00 PM


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