Heinz Squeezed Out of McDonald's After Hiring Former Burger King CEO

Image: Heinz Squeezed Out of McDonald's After Hiring Former Burger King CEO

Friday, 25 Oct 2013 04:57 PM

By Andrea Billups

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Pretty soon, McDonald's diners won't find Heinz ketchup under the Golden Arches, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

The Oak Brook, Ill., -based fast-food chain decided to drop the brand after its maker, H.J. Heinz Co. of Pittsburgh, hired former CEO of arch-rival Burger King Wordwide, Bernardo Hees, to run the giant food company.

Hees, a partner in the investment firm that acquired Burger King in 2010 and Heinz this year, is vice chairman of the Burger King board.

Heinz had attempted to become more actively involved in the McDonald's operations after a previously strained relationship in the 70s. That discord 40 years ago occurred after Heinz, facing a tomato shortage, could not keep up with McDonald's growing demands.

McDonald's, known for its signature Big Macs, Chicken McNuggets, and hot, salty fries, has about 34,000 locations worldwide.

The loss of McDonald's as a customer, the paper said, is likely to have a bigger impact  internationally than in the United States, where Heinz is used only in Pittsburgh and Minneapolis market areas.

"It's a global transition to other suppliers," said Lisa McComb, director of U.S. media relations for McDonald's.

Heinz holds a greater market share for fast food restaurants like Chick-fil-A and Wendy's. Both brands use Heinz's portion-controlled servings of ketchup.

A spokesman for Heinz said the company didn't discuss customer relationships.

"All our food-service customers globally remain valuable to the company and are an important part of what has made the H.J. Heinz Co. what it is today, said senior vice president of corporate and governmental affairs, Michael Mullen to the Post-Gazette.

"We continue to operate respecting every customer while upholding the high level of confidentiality and business ethics that the H.J. Heinz Co. has built with our business partners over the years."




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