Kraft Heinz appoints new Canadian president

Bruno Keller succeeds Nina Barton, who is taking on a new growth-focused role as the company charts a new path forward.

Kraft Heinz

Kraft Heinz Canada has named a new president less than one year after naming Nina Barton to the role, as the former leader of Canadian operations takes on new duties in the U.S.

Replacing Barton is Bruno Keller, who has led category development in Canada for more than a year. Meanwhile, Barton has been appointed to the new role of chief growth officer for Kraft Heinz’s global business, after serving in the dual roles of Canadian president and president of global digital online growth, a title that came with oversight of Kraft Heinz ecommerce platforms, new online businesses and its “Mealtime Stories” joint venture with Oprah Winfrey, launched in 2017.

The moves are meant to help “accelerate the company’s business momentum with a focus on driving long-term, profitable growth,” says Av Maharaj, VP of legal, corporate affairs and HR at Kraft Heinz Canada. The company remains focused on driving growth with its iconic brands, he says, namely Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Kraft Peanut Butter, Heinz Ketchup, Maxwell House and Kraft and Renée’s Salad Dressing.

Barton will be based in Chicago and continue to report to Kraft Heinz CEO Miguel Patricio. She was appointed president of Canadian operations in January, succeeding Carlos Piani, who left the role after three years to become head of strategic initiatives, mergers and acquisitions for Kraft Heinz in Chicago.

In her new role, she will continue to lead the company’s global e-commerce and digital businesses, while adding oversight of R&D, channel growth and innovation in all areas of the business, according to Maharaj.

Shortly after Barton’s arrival in January, the company appointed Dana Somerville, former VP and head of brand build, innovation and R&D in Canada, as country CMO. Her arrival marked the end of a temporary restructuring of the marketing department, initiated in 2017, that saw the CMO role eliminated and former chief marketer Brian Kerr leave the company.

Globally, Kraft Heinz has been struggling with lackluster financial results that have resulted in plunging stock prices. Speaking on the company’s results for the first half of 2019, Patricio – who took on the CEO role in July – said it was too early to get into specifics about his plan to reverse its fortunes, but did note that “premium” versions of well-loved products and ones that had eliminated artificial ingredients had performed well. He added that it would likely be investing into its core brands, instead of launching new ones, mirroring an approach at other CPG companies looking to invest in brands consumers had existing affinity for, instead of attempting to compete on price.

Keller, a Brazilian native, first joined Kraft Heinz in 2014 as director of trade marketing and revenue management in Italy and was later named managing director of the Italian business. By the end of 2016, he had assumed leadership of a South Europe business unit that included France, Spain and Portugal. He had been head of category for Canada since 2018.

His promotion took effect on Sept 1.