Business Strategies

Former CEO Slams Kraft Heinz Management

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

May 16, 2019

Kraft Heinz has lost its way due to too much emphasis on cost-cutting, its former CEO said in an interview with Fox Business.

Appearing on Neil Cavuto’s “Coast-to-Coast” program, Bill Johnson noted the plunge in the company’s stock price and stated, “I’ve lost a lot of confidence in what’s going on there.” Johnson, who was CEO of Heinz from 1998 to 2013, criticized the current management for focusing too much on cutting costs and not enough on product development.

“In their zeal to cut costs and so forth, they’ve removed all the institutional knowledge, and therefore no one can tell them what they shouldn’t do because it had been done before and hadn’t worked,” he said. “And I think they also forgot that growth is important to consumer products companies and all companies. It’s part of the capitalist system, and it’s critical to innovate and to incent people to continue to move the enterprise forward. I think they were so focused on cutting costs and trying to drive up current margins that they forgot about all that. More importantly, I don’t think they have the right people in place to do that.”

Johnson retired from Heinz after it was acquired by investors including Warren Buffett. Two years later, it merged with Kraft Foods.