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Kraft Heinz Entering the Next Phase of Its Transformation

Andre Maciel, Yang Xu move up the finance ladder

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Jan 23, 2022
Summary
  • Higher costs and supply chain difficulties present ongoing challenges.
  • How will increasingly squeezed consumers view price hikes in 2022?
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The Kraft Heinz Co. (

KHC, Financial) announced on Friday that Andre Maciel has been appointed as executive vice president and global chief financial officer, effective March 2.

Maciel will succeed Paulo Basilio, who will step down on March 1 as part of a planned transition and will remain with the company as a strategic advisor through August 2022, the company said in its announcement.

“These transitions happen at a moment of strength for the company, as Kraft Heinz enters the next phase of its transformation,” the statement noted. Shares of Kraft Heinz stock were off about 0.1% in the extended session Friday after finishing the regular trading day down 0.2%.

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Maciel has been with Kraft Heinz since 2013 and has held several leadership roles, including vice president of Global Financial Planning and Analysis for the H.J. Heinz Company. He was also managing director of Continental Europe, responsible for the Kraft Heinz business in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland and his current position of senior vice president, U.S. CFO and head of digital transformation.

Basilio remains a partner at 3G Capital. He has been with the company since 2013, serving two terms as CFO and in between as the president of the U.S. Zone. The company accepted his request to step down from the global CFO role on Jan. 19, 2022. For the next six months, Basilio will continue in an advisory role at Kraft Heinz, supporting Maciel during his transition.

“The change in the top finance seat comes as Kraft Heinz, like many other food companies, is battling higher costs stemming from supply-chain challenges and inflation for packaging and key commodities, including dairy, meat and coffee,” explained the Wall Street Journal. “The company in recent months has been raising prices across categories to offset some of the cost increases.”

The company also announced that Yang Xu, currently global head of Treasury and M&A, will move to senior vice president, global head of Corporate Development, joining the executive leadership team reporting directly to Patricio. The move is effective March 2.

Xu has been with Kraft Heinz since 2018 in various finance leadership positions and is based in Amsterdam. Prior to Kraft Heinz, she served as senior director, Corporate Treasury & Risk Management, USA at the Whirlpool Corp. (

WHR, Financial) as well as director of M&A Integration, Sales and Marketing at Whirlpool China. Xu also worked as an M&A analyst at GE Healthcare, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Xu holds an MBA in management from HEC Paris and London Business School.

The promotions reveal a sharp management strategy. “Building a deep bench of internal candidates is an important task for finance professionals,” the Journal added. “Promotions from inside organizations have increased recently, with 61.5% of CFOs at companies in the S&P 500 and Fortune 500 recruited internally in 2021, up from 56.9% in 2020, according to the Crist Kolder Volatility Report tracking executive moves.”

Maciel, Xu and company have their work cut out for them. The company’s organic sales rose by 0.5% through three quarters in 2021. But some are concerned that the numbers don’t tell the entire story, as much of the growth was the result of price increases. There are, a Motley Fool columnist suggested, “two main components to organic sales -- price and volume. As a price rises, volume tells you how well or poorly consumers are accepting the price hike. The numbers aren't looking good for Kraft Heinz right now.”

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