The Kraft Heinz Co., headquartered in Chicago and Pittsburgh, said it will combine its U.S. and Canada businesses to create the North America Zone, which is expected to be effective in the second fiscal quarter of 2022. The move is meant to advance the food and beverage company’s long-term sustainable growth plans — which were first outlined at its Investor Day event in September 2020 — by bringing increased agility to its innovation agenda, operations and go-to-market approach. The company’s U.S. and Canada businesses accounted for approximately 80% of its 2020 consolidated net sales.
In the last 12 months, Kraft Heinz has taken multiple steps to transform its overall growth profile, strategic focus and financial flexibility, including divesting certain assets in its global cheese and nuts businesses. The company said it has also centered its business around a consumer-first approach, significantly investing in its portfolio, digital solutions, customer relationships and people.
Kraft Heinz said it believes the creation of the North America Zone will further fuel its vision to leverage its scale through improved agility for competitive advantage. Structural changes to support the strategic plan are aimed at streamlining and synergizing the U.S. and Canada businesses. This evolved model is expected to help the North America Zone pilot high-value products, processes and service innovations, backed by the resources of the two countries, while also increasing speed to market.
“As consumer, customer and employee needs change, we must be in a position to anticipate, adjust and respond with speed,” said Miguel Patricio, CEO of Kraft Heinz. “Combining our U.S. and Canada businesses, two dynamic zones, gives us a distinct advantage and will produce faster, more effective results so we can continue investing in our strategic plan and driving sustainable growth. While this is an evolution to our structure, it is part of a broader revolution in how we will work at Kraft Heinz going forward.”
As a result of the move, Kraft Heinz said Carlos Abrams-Rivera, currently U.S. Zone president, will lead the North American Zone. Since joining Kraft Heinz in February 2020, Abrams-Rivera has been instrumental in reigniting growth in the U.S. business, the company’s largest zone. Abrams-Rivera will assume the title of North America Zone president.
The North America Zone structure will include three commercial business units, Kraft Heinz said, that will be organized around the company’s consumer-driven product platforms and geographic needs, including:
- Taste, Meals and Away From Home, which will be led by Pedro Navio, currently president of Latin America. The unit includes the Taste Elevation and Easy Meals Made Better consumer platforms, as well as the U.S. foodservice and ingredient businesses.
- Fresh, Beverages and Desserts, which will be led by Steve Cornell, currently president – Enhancers, Specialty and Away From Home. The unit includes the Fast Fresh Meals, Easy Indulgent Desserts, Real Food Snacking and Flavorful Hydration consumer platforms.
- Canada and North America Coffee, which will be led by Adam Butler, currently president – Kids, Snacks and Beverages.
The company also announced the appointment of Robert Scott as president of research & development – North America, effective Dec. 8.2021. Scott joins Kraft Heinz from Abbott Nutrition, where he most recently served as divisional vice president of global product development.
Long-time company executive Bruno Keller, currently Canada Zone president, will assume the position of president of Latin America, part of the company’s International Zone. Navio, Cornell, Butler and Scott will report directly to Abrams-Rivera under the new structure, Kraft Heinz said.