- The recent merger of Kraft and Heinz is mostly retaining senior leadership from Heinz, leaving Kraft’s current CMO out of the C-Suite.
- For operations, Kraft-Heinz will not have a CMO role and instead will allow marketing leadership to flow through business units.
- The top marketing designation will be a senior vice president job title, going to Kraft’s current VP of marketing for coffee.
Food giants Kraft and Heinz are merging after a vote by Kraft shareholders, with 98% approving the move, to create Kraft Heinz Company. The newly merged firm will retain most of Heinz’s leadership, and in what could be considered a surprise move given the importance of the chief marketing officer in today’s boardroom, the new company will not have a CMO. This decision effectively squeezes out Kraft’s current CMO, Jane Hilk, who is leaving the company. The top marketing job at Kraft-Heinz will be a senior vice president role to be filled by Nina Barton, Kraft’s current vice president of marketing for coffee. Operationally, marketing leadership will be handled through the various business units of the merged firm.
Kelly O’Keefe, a branding expert and professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, spoke with Food Dive on the implications of the merger, and explained that having marketing leadership as close to their product lines as possible is a good indicator they'll be paying better attention to consumer trends. However, O'Keefe is still somewhat bearish on the idea, saying the brands in the portfolio are more independent than interconnected, and consumers are betting on a company, not disparate brands.
A spokesperson offered a the following statement to Ad Age on Kraft-Heinz’s leadership structure, "Marketing is led by the business units as it is today."