Burger King CEO Bernardo Hees will take over as CEO of H.J. Heinz Co. once the $28 billion acquisition of the Pittsburgh company is complete.
Investment firms 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway are taking Heinz private in a deal expected to close late in this second quarter or early in the third. Heinz shareholders on April 30 approved the deal, which paid them a 20 percent premium over the then-current stock price.
Hees took over Burger King in September 2010 when 3G Capital took that firm private. He is credited with engineering a turnaround there with revamped menus and marketing efforts. Previously, he was CEO of America Latina Logistica (ALL), Latin America's largest railroad and logistics company.
"Bernardo is a proven executive with an unparalleled track record of delivering results,” said Alex Behring, managing partner at 3G Capital. “Over the past two and a half years at Burger King, Bernardo grew adjusted [earnings] by 44 percent from $454 million in 2010 to $652 million in 2012 and expanded the company’s adjusted [earnings] margin from 19 percent in 2010 to 33 percent in 2012. His combination of experience, leadership skills and broad understanding of the food industry make him the ideal leader to drive the next chapter in Heinz’s storied history.”
Hees will work closely with Heinz’s current Chairman, President and CEO Bill Johnson during the transition. And a Heinz statement said the new owners were discussing some continued role for Johnson after the transaction is complete.