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New Heinz owners shake up management after takeover

A variety of Heinz products are seen at a convenience store in Golden, Colorado February 28, 2006. REUTERS/Rick Wilking - RTR16QPY
A variety of Heinz products are seen at a convenience store in Golden, Colorado February 28, 2006. REUTERS/Rick Wilking - RTR16QPY

(Reuters) - H.J. Heinz Co announced the departure of 11 executives on Thursday in a management shakeup less than two weeks after its new owners, 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway Inc , closed their $28 billion acquisition.

The world's largest ketchup maker revealed a new management team of 11 executives, nine of whom are already with Pittsburgh-based Heinz.

"This announcement demonstrates the power and potential of meritocracy at work here at Heinz," said Bernardo Hees, who recently became chief executive officer after leading Burger King Worldwide Inc , another 3G investment.

Two of the new executives have ties to 3G, a private equity firm with Brazilian roots and a reputation for aggressive cost-cutting.

One is Paulo Basilio, whose appointment as chief financial officer was announced on June 7, when the deal closed. The other is Eduardo Pelleissone, who joins as executive vice president of operations from America Latina Logistica, a Brazilian logistics company.

3G co-founder Alex Behring is also a co-founder and former CEO of America Latina Logistica. Brazilian financier Jorge Paulo Lemann, another 3G co-founder, helped put together the deals that formed beer giant Anheuser Busch InBev .

Behring appeared at a Pittsburgh news conference in February to discuss the Heinz deal, and reassure anxious local crowds that the company would remain based there and would continue to support local philanthropy. He said at the time it was too soon to talk about cost cuts.

Earlier this month, Heinz said it would cut 45 jobs at a factory in Britain that produced infant milks destined for China, saying that such an arrangement was "not efficient or sustainable in the long term".

As a result, the UK factory will focus on infant milks for Europe and other products for the UK, it said.

A company spokesman declined to comment on whether there would be any job cuts in the United States. The company said successors for vacant business unit president roles will be named shortly.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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