Fast food giant Burger King Worldwide Inc. said it will lose its chief executive Bernardo Hees to H.J. Heinz Co. once billionaire financier Warren Buffett wraps up his acquisition of the ketchup company with 3G Capital.
Corporate poaching this probably isn’t. Nor is it likely a J.C. Penney-style flameout a la Ron Johnson.
The deal appears to be all in the family -- private equity firm 3G Capital is also Burger King’s majority shareholder, having taken the quick-service chain private in 2010 before relaunching on the New York Stock Exchange in June 2012.
On July 1 -- or, if it comes first, the date that the Heinz buyout is finalized -- Hees will be replaced as CEO by current Chief Financial Officer Daniel Schwartz.
Schwartz has held the position at the Miami burger brand since 2010 and has helped speed the company through its global growth plan, guide it through a major restaurant-level revamp and return it to public trading.
Before that, however, he was a partner at 3G and was instrumental in helping to arrange the firm’s takeover of Burger King.
Schwartz won’t be flying blind at the helm of the world’s second-largest burger chain. Hees, who will take the top spot at Heinz, will also become vice chairman of Burger King’s board of directors and will remain on its executive committee.
Hees was named as Burger King’s CEO in September 2010. The shake-up in the chain of command was announced Thursday – almost exactly a year after rival McDonald’s Corp. said Don Thompson was to take over as CEO from the retiring Jim Skinner.
In late morning trading in New York on Thursday, Burger King stock was up 4.3%, or 80 cents, to $19.26 a share.
The Heinz deal was unveiled in February, with Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and 3G Capital agreeing to buy the condiment king in a $28 billion deal.
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