Kraft Heinz's top marketer is the latest executive to leave the company
Kraft Heinz’s top marketer, Eduardo Luz, is leaving after six years, the latest major departure as the packaged food company tries to come up with a fresh recipe for growth.
In April, Kraft Heinz said it is bringing in Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Miguel Patricio to replace Bernardo Hees as CEO. Patricio, who was AB InBev’s global chief marketing officer from 2012 to 2018, joins in July. But first, Luz is set to exit his dual roles of global brand officer and CMO, U.S., at the end of May.
Luz’s departure was described by Kraft Heinz as his decision. It comes during a tumultuous run for the company, which in February took a $15.4 billion charge to write down the value of assets including the Kraft and Oscar Mayer trademarks. Kraft Heinz also slashed its dividend payout, disclosed an investigation by U.S. regulators into certain accounting practices and posted weak quarterly results, and has yet to file its 2018 annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Luz oversees Kraft Heinz’s brand teams covering 200 brands in 125 countries, manages the U.S. brand work, and leads the Heinz, Kraft and Planters brands. In March, he published an article on LinkedIn outlining 10 principles the global brand building leadership team came up with during a meeting, including “build brands with long-standing purposes resonating in culture, beyond just commerce,” as well as “design brands that are instantly recognizable and irrationally desired.”
Prior to taking on the top marketing role in 2018, Luz was president of the grocery business, and before that was managing director for consumer products at Heinz, which he joined in 2013.
“Eduardo Luz has decided to leave Kraft Heinz at the end of May. We thank him for his many contributions over the past six years and we wish him continued success,” Kraft Heinz said in a statement.
Adam Butler, the company’s president of beverages, snacks and desserts, is going to assume CMO responsibilities on an interim basis, Kraft Heinz said.
CNBC previously reported Luz’s departure as well as the planned departure of Eduardo Pelleissone, head of strategic projects, citing an internal memo Hees sent to employees. Pellissone, who also joined Heinz in 2013, is set to leave June 30.
Luz isn't the only marketer to leave Kraft Heinz this year. Michelle St. Jacques, Kraft Heinz’s senior VP and head of global brands and capabilities, left to become CMO of MillerCoors in February. And Greg Guidotti, head of marketing at Kraft Heinz’s Oscar Mayer unit, joined Ferrara Candy Co. in March as general manager of its non-chocolate business.
Amid all of that noise, Kraft Heinz has been trying to tout both bigger and smaller brands. Planters and Devour, a frozen meal brand aimed at hungry men, each had spot air during the Super Bowl. And Kraft Heinz has been trying to make its longstanding brands more relevant to today’s consumers. For example, it brought out a “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” version of coffee brand Maxwell House’s Passover Haggadah this year, which was sent to consumers who ordered the coffee on Amazon.
Shares of Kraft Heinz have fallen 24 percent so far this year.