Kraft Heinz names new CEO amid challenging market
Insider Carlos Abrams-Rivera takes over on January 1 as Miguel Patricio stays as chair
Kraft Heinz CEO Miguel Patricio will step down from the role and be succeeded by Carlos Abrams-Rivera, president of its North American business, starting in 2024, the packaged food maker said on Monday.
Patricio joined Kraft Heinz in July 2019 as the company bet on a marketing veteran to help reverse years of muted sales and market share losses to brand-name competitors and private-label players.
In February of that year, the company had recorded a $15.4bn writedown related to its Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands.
Patricio, who had previously spent two decades at Budweiser owner AB InBev, oversaw Kraft Heinz’s efforts to revitalise brands including Oscar Mayer by ramping up investments.
Kraft Heinz also divested its nuts business under Patricio to reduce exposure to private-label competition, while stepping up marketing spend and streamlining its supply chain.
Abrams-Rivera will take on the added responsibility as president of Kraft Heinz, effective immediately, while Patricio will remain nonexecutive chair of the board, said the company.
Abrams-Rivera joined Kraft Heinz in early 2020 and is credited with steering the company’s North American business through the pandemic, having previously held key roles at Campbell Soup and Mondelez International.
“The announcement was a bit sudden to us, given that Patricio’s only been here since 2019,” CFRA Research analyst Arun Sundaram said.
“But I also think this is a good time for a transition because there are new challenges that the company will be facing over the near and medium term.”
Abrams-Rivera takes the helm when demand is easing for Kraft Heinz’s packaged meals and condiments as higher prices force consumers to shun branded products and turn to cheaper alternatives, meaning the new CEO has to boost volumes and win back market share.
Sundaram said he sees mergers and acquisitions as “an important driver” for Kraft Heinz. “I do think we’ll see some acquisitions in the near to medium term,” he added.
Kraft Heinz, also known for Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Tomato Ketchup, earlier this month left its annual forecasts unchanged after missing estimates for quarterly sales.
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.