Was Previously Heinz Chief Growth Officer

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NEW YORK ( - - H.J. Heinz Co. has named Casey Keller, former chief growth officer, chairman and CEO of Heinz Italy and president of Heinz Southern Europe, the company announced from its Pittsburgh headquarters today.

The change is effective immediately. A Heinz spokeswoman said the company had no announcement to make on the subject of a possible successor to Mr. Keller.

Mr. Keller did not immediately return a call for comment.

Mr. Keller, 42, was appointed in late 2002 to the new position of chief growth officer to oversee an planned $200 million in marketing spending last year against Heinz's total portfolio of ketchup, sauces and frozen foods.

Mr. Keller joined Heinz in 1998 from Procter & Gamble Co., where he served as marketing director for U.S. Snacks and global development of Pringles; he has since held varying positions heading up marketing for ketchup and condiments as well as Heinz's meals unit before taking on the broader portfolio.

Mr. Keller will report to Joe Jimenez, president-CEO of Heinz Europe, as part of a new team focused on Heinz's Italian businesses including its Plasmon infant feeding brand.

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