Kraft Heinz CMO Steps Down After 6 Years at the Company

Eduardo Luz will leave at the end of May

Luz was elevated to the CMO role last October after running the largest business units for Kraft Heinz: grocery.
Sean T. Smith for Adweek

Kraft Heinz’s U.S. CMO Eduardo Luz will leave the company at the end of May, six years after joining the packaged food conglomerate. Adam Butler, president, beverages, snacks and desserts, will assume CMO responsibilities on an interim basis.

“Eduardo Luz has decided to leave Kraft Heinz at the end of May,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We thank him for his many contributions over the past six years and we wish him continued success.”

CNBC was the first to report this story over the weekend; reportedly, Luz’s announcement came via a company-wide email last Tuesday from departing CEO Bernando Hees.

Luz was elevated to the CMO role last October after running the largest business units for Kraft Heinz: grocery.

Speaking to Adweek in March, Luz pointed to how his division grew the business consistently “despite all these famous or infamous kinds of store headwinds.” His goal as the new marketing chief focused on replicating the success of his grocery division across the rest of the company, globally. One of those headwinds was a $15.4 billion write-down on the Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands; slashing its dividend by 36%. This came after a rough Q4, which saw the company post higher-than-expected costs and a $12.6 billion loss of revenue. Luz, however, remained optimistic.

Over the past three years, he said, the company has put in almost $200 million in ingredients in its legacy brands, removing artificial ingredients. For example, Kraft Mac & Cheese took out artificial colors, flavors and dyes.

Luz pieced together a leadership team with the company’s CMOs in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Canada, as well as key leaders in the U.S. They all came together in October 2018 for the first time to establish the “KHC Way of Brand Building,” defining principles important to “build brands for a future.” The goal, Luz said, was to “help people make progress in their lives.”

Legacy brands are already in customers’ minds; they have years of brand building. But there’s always room for more, he told Adweek in March.

“How [do] you continue to make those brands relevant and strong and innovating and find new occasions, new households, new consumers?” he said. “[That’s] always going to be our number one priority, because the number one job is to make sure that those brands are very healthy. … [T]his is our life. This is our job.  And we’ll continue to do that. And this is what I call ‘The Core.’”

The Core is just one of his team’s 10 Principles, which he published on LinkedIn in March. The team created this process between October and December and published the results to the whole global organization in January. But five months later, he’s out, and so is the company’s CEO Bernardo Hees, who’s stepping down on June 30 and will be replaced by Miguel Patricio, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s former CMO.

Reporting by Diana Pearl and Patrick Coffee