Former Goldman Sachs banker is new Kraft Heinz CFO – Consumer News

on Sep8

8 September 2017 | 12:40 pm

(Bloomberg)—Kraft Heinz named 29-year-old former Goldman Sachs Group banker David Knopf as its next chief financial officer, part of a shakeup aimed at reigniting growth at the slumping packaged-food giant.

The changes also include moving current CFO Paulo Basilio to the role of zone president for U.S. operations, tasking him with fixing a challenging domestic business that generates about 70 percent of its sales. Basilio, 42, will replace Kraft veteran George Zoghbi, though that executive will stay on as a strategic adviser.

Kraft Heinz hasn’t posted sales growth since the company was created in a 2015 merger orchestrated by the private-equity firm 3G Capital and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. The company is mired in an industrywide slowdown: The largest food companies in the U.S. have lost almost $16 billion in sales over the past three years amid broad shifts in how consumers eat and shop.

Knopf, who is based in Chicago, joined Kraft Heinz in July 2015 in connection with the merger and took a number of roles, including vice president of finance and head of global budget planning. In addition to working at Goldman Sachs and Onex Partners, he previously worked at 3G, which continues to run Kraft Heinz. The private-equity firm often elevates young executives into top roles—an approach it has taken at its other businesses, including Burger King.

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Kraft Heinz, known more for slashing costs than nurturing brands, has tried to update its portfolio to meet changing tastes, adding organic Capri Sun and removing artificial ingredients from Oscar Mayer hot dogs. But growth has been elusive.

To keep its expansion going, the company attempted to acquire Unilever earlier this year for $143 billion. But that offer was rebuffed, partly over concerns of a culture clash between Unilever’s sustainability focus and 3G’s cost-cutting efforts.



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