Kraft Heinz to combine Canadian and U.S. regions

Details about how the marketing function will be impacted will be revealed in the new year.
Kraft Heinz HQ

Kraft Heinz will soon bring its Canadian and U.S. business together into a single “North America Zone” in its pursuit of growth and further cost savings.

The move is meant to create the scale required to achieve its long-term growth plans and reap competitive advantages, as well as implement structural changes aimed at “streamlining and synergizing” business in the two regions.

The North America Zone will be led by Carlos Abrams-Rivera, currently president of U.S. Zone. Bruno Keller, currently Canada Zone president, will become president of the company in Latin America.

Adam Butler, currently president of the Kraft Heinz’s kids, snacks and beverages portfolio, will become president of the company’s Canadian business, in addition to duties leading the North American coffee portfolio.

A spokesperson for Kraft Heinz told strategy that it was premature to share additional details on either how specific functions (like marketing) or external partners (like agency relationships) would be impacted by the combination. Senior leaders will be transitioned beginning in January and the new structure will be in place by the beginning of Q2 2022, at which point it plans to release more details.

In the meantime, the spokesperson said, it is business as usual at the company. Different marketing functions within Canada are led by chief growth officer Diana Frost (who took on the role last year) and chief category and brand officer Kelly Fleming  (who was promoted in April).

Kraft Heinz categorized the combination as the latest step it has taken to “transform its overall growth profile, strategic focus and financial flexibility.” That has also included divesting part of its global cheese and nuts businesses (the sale of its natural cheese business closed earlier this year).

In February, the company also debuted a new operating model that aimed to improve operating efficiency, save on costs and regroup its products in a way that allowed it to more effectively pursue growth opportunities.

So far this year, the company’s Canadian business has been out-performing the U.S. business. While still less than 7% of its total sales, growth for the first nine months of the year was 7% in Canada, compared to a 1.8% decline in U.S. sales. However, that is a reversal from previous years: in 2020, sales in Canada dipped by 12.8%, compared to a 7.6% increase in the U.S. In 2019, Canadian sales dropped by 13.4%, compared to a less severe 2% dip in the U.S.

Altogether, the two regions currently represent roughly 80% of the company’s total sales.