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August 14, 2023
The Kraft Heinz Company's Carlos Abrams-Rivera will take over as chief executive officer starting Jan. 1 after a vote from its board, the company announced Monday. Miguel Patricio, who has served in the position since 2019, will transition to the role of non-executive chair of the company's board.
Abrams-Rivera has served as the president of Kraft Heinz's North American operations since 2020.
In a statement, Patricio said Abrams-Rivera is the perfect person to take over leadership of the Lunchables, Jell-O and Heinz ketchup giant. The current CEO said he believes Abrams-Rivera's knack for innovation, especially in emerging categories, will drive the company toward growth in the coming years.
"Since joining Kraft Heinz in 2020, he has consistently delivered strong results in the North American retail and Away From Home businesses." Patricio said. "Carlos' experience in both developed and emerging markets complements our ambition for growth." Previously, Abrams-Rivera worked at Campbell Soup as the head of its snacks division.
The lead director of the Kraft Heinz board, Jack Pope, said of Abrams-Rivera, "He is an experienced leader with a long tenure in the food and beverage industry who has shown consistency and excellence in execution. Carlos’ leadership in transforming North America with innovative partnerships, tech-enabled solutions and developing and attracting world class talent will serve the company well into the future.
Kraft Heinz acquired natural condiments brand Primal Kitchen in 2018.
Under Patricio's leadership, Kraft Heinz expanded its portfolio through M&A and new product launches, as it navigated supply and demand volatility amid high inflation.
Kraft Heinz continues to deal with the impact of supply chain disruptions that began in 2020. In its most recent earnings report this month, the company reported a net sales increase of 2.6% in the latest quarter, but said it faced headwinds with regards to its U.S. market share performance. On the earnings call, Patricio said the company is executing a four-pronged strategic plan to spur growth.
Product innovation has colored the company's strategy over the past year, leaning into popular categories as it works to diversify its offerings. In April, Kraft Heinz announced it is expanding its European seasonings brand Just Spice into the U.S. That month, it also debuted spicy varieties of its Heinz ketchup—chipotle, jalapeño and habañero—citing heightened demand for hot sauce-adjacent offerings. And in May it launched two product lines for the freezer aisle: a new version of its signature Mac & Cheese, and an array of cooked meals under its Homebake 425°/:30 brand.
Kraft Heinz is also working to expand its manufacturing capacity. Last month, it announced a $400 million investment in a new 775,000-square-foot distribution center in northern Illinois, which aims to boost efficiency.
A version of this piece originally appeared on Food Dive, an Informa sister website. Visit the site for information on manufacturing, packaging, ingredients and more.
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