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Published: Thursday, 4/11/2013 - Updated: 2 years ago

Man who revamped Burger King to lead H.J. Heinz Co.

Hees Hees

PITTSBURGH — An executive who spent the last few years shaking up the home of the Whopper — retooling senior management, cutting costs, revamping the menu, focusing on franchises, pushing for international growth, and dumping the King mascot — has been chosen to take over H.J. Heinz Co.

Bernardo Hees, 43, will leave his job as CEO of Burger King Worldwide to lead the Pittsburgh company.

Mr. Hees is also a partner in 3G Capital, which is part of a joint venture with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway to buy Heinz.

He’ll be only the seventh CEO in the century-plus history of Heinz.

It is unclear what will become of Bill Johnson, 64, the current CEO of Heinz, which had $11.6 billion in revenues last year. The only certainty is that Mr. Johnson, who also serves as chairman and president, will stay until the deal is closed.

Shareholders need to approve the deal. The sale also still needs the approval of foreign regulators from several countries, although Heinz has already won antitrust clearance in the United States, Brazil, India, South Korea, Japan, and Israel.

The deal could close quickly. Burger King on Thursday announced Mr. Hees will continue as CEO until either the deal is done or July 1. Then he’ll become vice chairman of Burger King.

Mr. Hees is not expected to be available for interviews until the deal closes.

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Teresa F. Lindeman is a staff writer for the Post-Gazette.

Contact her at: ttlindeman@post-gazette.com or at 412-263-2018.

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