Fittest loser
Article updated: 4/11/2013 8:56 AM

Burger King CEO to take Heinz reins after deal

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PITTSBURGH -- Burger King CEO Bernardo Hees will take the top job at Heinz following its acquisition by investment firm 3G Capital and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.


Hees, 43, has been CEO at Burger King, another 3G Capital investment, since 2010. Before that, Hees was CEO of America Latina Logistica, Latin America's largest railroad and logistics company.

He will remain CEO at Burger King until the deal closes. Likewise, Heinz Chairman and CEO Bill Johnson will retain that job until the acquisition of the company closes.

The investors announced plans in February to buy Pittsburgh-based H.J. Heinz Co. in a $23.3 billion deal. Heinz shareholders are set to vote on the acquisition at a meeting April 30.

The deal is expected to close in the second or third quarter and still awaits regulatory approval in some countries and the European Union. U.S. authorities have already signed off on the deal.

3G Managing Partner Alex Behring said in a statement that Hees' experience in the food industry makes him the ideal leader for Heinz.

Berkshire and Brazilian investment firm 3G said they will discuss a continuing role with Heinz with Johnson.

At Miami-based Burger King Worldwide Inc., Chief Financial Officer Daniel Schwartz will become chief operating officer and will take the CEO job on July 1.

Hees led a campaign to revamp Burger King's menu and marketing. The menu moves helped boost the burger chain's profit in the fourth quarter.

But now, the world's second-biggest hamburger chain says it needs to play up value more aggressively to compete with rivals.

On Wednesday, Burger King said it expects revenue at restaurants open at least a year fell 1.5 percent in the first quarter. The figure is considered critical because it strips out the effects of locations that opened or closed during the year.

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