Jorge Paulo Lemann, the founding partner of 3G Capital, will step down from Kraft Heinz’s board of directors as part of the 81-year-old billionaire’s plan to cut his travel commitments, the company says.
3G, the Brazilian-American investment group, owns a 20% stake in Kraft Heinz, reduced by 2 percentage points in 2019, when the company was hit with billions of dollars depreciations and declining sales.
He said he plans to remain a long-term investor in the company despite Lemann’s departure from the board.
“Lemann’s decision not to run for office is not the result of a disagreement with management or the board regarding the operations, policies or practices of the company,” Kraft Heinz said in a press release Wednesday.
The move comes at a time of relative strength for the company behind Heinz Ketchup and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese: the pandemic has boosted sales as consumers reverted to iconic processed food brands they previously rejected in favor of healthier alternatives.
3G is best known for its large and bold acquisitions and for imposing aggressive cost cuts on the businesses it operates, but over the past 18 months it has shifted its strategy from purchasing new assets to focus more on the organic growth of companies.
Kraft Heinz – who was formed in 2015 with financial backing from 3G and Lemann’s investment partner, Warren Buffett, recently sold several brands subject to fluctuations in commodity prices and dominated by private labels.
In February, it sold Planters to Hormel Foods for $ 3.35 billion and sold part of its cheese activities to the French group Lactalis for $ 3.2 billion in order to consolidate its cash flow, reduce its debt and reinvest in new areas.
The recovery strategy was led by Miguel patricio, The CEO of Kraft Heinz, who was selected by 3G after a depreciation of 15 billion dollars and the decision to reduce by a third its dividend. Patricio was previously director of marketing at brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, which is also backed by 3G.
3G, meanwhile, has been trying to hang on to its investors’ money longer, as coronavirus uncertainty and sky-high valuations made it difficult for seasoned traders to close a deal.