Kraft Heinz creates new North America strategy role, other CPGs make key hires

Kraft Heinz has created a new role, chief strategy and transformation officer, and has hired Dafne Hefner in the position.

Hefner will lead strategic planning, processes, and digital capabilities for Kraft Heinz in Canada and the U.S., reporting directly to Carlos Abrams-Rivera, EVP and president, North America.

Hefner’s appointment follows the company’s recent decision to combine the U.S. and Canada businesses into a North America Zone.

The creation of the new zone, expected to be effective in the second fiscal quarter of 2022, intends to advance the company’s leadership and long-term, sustainable growth plans by bringing increased agility to its innovation agenda, operations, and go-to-market approach. The U.S. and Canada businesses of Kraft Heinz accounted for approximately 80 per cent of its 2020 consolidated net sales.

“We are thrilled to have Dafne Hefner join Kraft Heinz as our Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer for our newly formed North America Zone,” said Abrams-Rivera. “Dafne brings a tremendous amount of leadership and experience to the critical areas we’ve been building since late 2020, including digital, innovation, and insights. Her proven ability to translate strategy into action, and effectively leverage Agile methodologies and teams at scale, will help us deliver a best-in-class innovation agenda, operations plan, and go-to-market approach.”

Hefner is just one of several senior leaders Kraft Heinz has hired or promoted in recent times to add industry-leading expertise in areas such as commercialization, marketing, sales, insights, research and development, and communications.

One of those was Robert Scott, recently hired as President of Research & Development, North America.

RELATED: Kraft Heinz launches digital home cooking platform

Other CPG companies make their own moves

Kraft Heinz is far from the only food and CPG company to make a key hire recently.

Some of the many other notable personnel moves include Mondelēz International appointing Karla Schlieper as its president in Canada, effective January 17, 2022. Schlieper has been with Mondelēz since 2013 and was most recently leading the Mondelēz business in Latin America’s Southern Cone region (Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay).

“We are excited to welcome Karla to the North America region, and to our Canadian business, as we focus on driving our growth ambition and snacking leadership in Canada,” said Glen Walter, executive vice-president and president, North America for Mondelēz International. “Her passion for developing people, paired with strong end-to-end business acumen, positions her well to lead the Canada business in its next phase, and in achieving its growth targets.”

Meanwhile, Maple Leaf Foods has made Adam Grogan the president of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Greenleaf Foods, effective January 31, 2022. Grogan has been with Maple Leaf Foods for over 20 years, holding roles including SVP of marketing, innovation, research, and development. He has been COO of Greenleaf since 2019 and will replace retiring Greenleaf president Dan Curtin.

Elsewhere, Conagra Brands has made a key hire of its own, appointing Lynne Strickler as the head of marketing in Canada and charging her with leading the building of the company’s brand strategy, ensuring there is alignment with its international business plans, and meeting objectives and key metrics. Strickler, a former brand management employee at Kraft Heinz, will be based in Chicago but report to Paul Hogan, VP and GM of Canada.

Image source: Kraft Heinz Canada