Bernardo Hees is out as CEO of Kraft Heinz, with news this morning that he'll be succeeded by former Anheuser-Busch InBev chief marketing officer Miguel Patricio.

The official story: Slumping sales, a floundering stock price, dividend reductions, massive write-downs and an SEC investigation into accounting and procurement activities.

The unofficial story: Brazilian private equity firm 3G Capital and Warren Buffett paid nearly $24 billion to buy the food giant in 2013, after which 3G embarked on the sort of short-sighted cost-cutting for which Buffett criticizes other private equity firms.

  • Per Fortune's Jennifer Reingold, at the time: "With Kraft, the short-term profit gains will be major, but can brutal efficiency turn around the secular decline of consumer packaged goods companies? It seems like, in addition to cuts, what Kraft Heinz really needs are some creative thinkers. But they might take up too many chairs at headquarters."
  • Per CNBC's Lauren Hirsch today: "As Kraft Heinz’s sales have stalled, analysts have wondered whether 3G cut too deeply and quickly, starving brands of investment needed for growth. They have questioned whether that approach works without deal-making to give the company needed fat to cut."

The bottom line: 3G is making at least a mild concession, as Hees has been a partner with the firm since 2010. But it still has one of its own as chairman, and Patricio is a veteran of a brewing conglomerate that 3G helped create (first by creating InBev, and later by merging it with Anheuser-Busch).

So change is coming, but slowly... kind of like waiting for ketchup to pour from a glass bottle.

Go deeper

Kayleigh McEnany: Trump will accept "free and fair" election, no answer on if he loses

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday that President Trump will "accept the results of a free and fair election," but did not specify whether he will commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses to Joe Biden.

Why it matters: Trump refused to say on Wednesday whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power, instead remarking: "we're going to have to see what happens."

Sanders: "This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy"


In an urgent appeal on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said President Trump presented "unique threats to our democracy" and detailed a plan to ensure the election results will be honored and that voters can cast their ballots safely.

Driving the news: When asked yesterday whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, Trump would not, and said: "We're going to have to see what happens."

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 45 mins ago - Technology

Amazon launches new Alexa-enabled hardware

Amazon's new spherical Echo smart speaker. Screenshot: Axios

Amazon debuted a range of new Ring, Fire TV and Echo hardware on Thursday, including more environmentally sustainable versions of its audio and video gear. Among the products introduced are a cloud gaming service, a home monitoring drone and new spherical designs for its Echo and Echo dot smart speakers.

Why it matters: Amazon, like rivals Google and Apple, typically gives its consumer hardware a launch ahead of the holidays. Apple has already introduced new iPads, while Google has scheduled a Sept. 30 event, where it is expected to debut new audio and video gear, alongside updated Pixel phones.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!