There Won't Be a CMO at the New Kraft-Heinz

Marketing Decisions Will be Led by Business Units

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Kraft Heinz
Kraft Heinz

The new Kraft Heinz Co. will not have a chief marketing officer, and the senior leadership team will be dominated by current Heinz executives, according to an announcement today naming the company's senior leadership team.

The Kraft-Heinz merger was announced in March and is expected to be completed later this year. It was previously announced that current H.J. Heinz Co. CEO Bernardo Hees would serve as the CEO of Kraft Heinz. But until today's announcement it was not clear who would hold the other top positions for what will be the third -largest food and beverage firm in North America and fifth-largest globally.

The top marketing position will go to Kraft veteran Nina Barton, whose new title will be senior VP-marketing innovation, research and development. Ms. Barton is currently Kraft's VP-marketing for coffee. However, Ms. Barton is not listed as a member of the 10-person senior leadership team reporting to Mr. Hees. Rather, Ms. Barton is listed as a member of the "extended leadership team," reporting directly to George Zoghbi, a Kraft veteran who will become chief operating officer of U.S. commercial businesses for the new company.

Kraft Food Group's current CMO, Jane Hilk, will leave the company "either upon the completion of the merger or within 30 days," according to the announcement. Ms. Hilk was named Kraft's interim CMO in February after the departure of Deanie Elsner. A spokesman for the new Kraft-Heinz confirmed that the company will not fill a CMO position. "Marketing is led by the business units as it is today," he said in an email.

Kraft's brands -- which are sold primarily in the U.S. and Canada -- include Oscar Mayer, Jell-O, Capri Sun, Kool-Aid, Lunchables, Maxwell House, Philadelphia, Planters and Velveeta. The company spent $540 million on measured media in 2014, while Heinz spent $42.4 million, according to Kantar Media. Kraft and Heinz had a combined $28 billion in revenues in 2014.

Of the 10 senior leadership team positions named Monday for Kraft Heinz, eight will be filled by current Heinz employees. That includes the chief financial officer job as well as four zone presidents who will oversee Europe, Russia, India, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Mr. Zoghbi, the top executive overseeing the U.S., joined Kraft in 2007 and has been serving as chief operating officer since February. The only female member of the 10-person team is Melissa Werneck, a current Heinz employee who will become senior VP-global human resources, performance and IT.

The Kraft-Heinz merger was orchestrated by 3G Capital and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, which are seeking to squeeze out $1.5 billion in annual cost savings by the end of 2017, according to the original merger announcement. A large number of layoffs are likely coming if 3G and Berkshire follow the same strategy they took after acquiring Heinz in June 2013.

Kraft-Heinz is expected to also use tools such as zero-based budgeting. The tactic, which has been embraced by 3G, means every dollar spent must be justified.

Indeed, one of the new positions for Kraft-Heinz is a leader for U.S. commercial finance, whose duties will include "U.S. budget and business planning, zero based budgeting and revenue management," according to the announcement. The job will be filled by Andre Maciel, who has a similar position at Heinz. He will report directly to Paulo Basilio, the current Heinz chief financial officer who will become exec VP and CFO for Kraft-Heinz.

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