McDonald’s splits with Heinz

by Monica Watrous
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OAK BROOK, ILL. — McDonald’s Corp. has announced plans to end its 40-year relationship with supplier H.J. Heinz Co. following recent management changes at the ketchup company that hit too close to the Home of the Whopper.

Bernardo Hees, previously chief executive officer at fast-food rival Burger King Worldwide Inc., stepped in to the same position at Heinz in June — and that’s when McDonald’s stepped out.

“As a result of recent management changes at Heinz, we have decided to transition our business to other suppliers over time,” McDonald’s said in a statement. “We have spoken to Heinz and plan to work together to ensure a smooth and  orderly transition of the McDonald’s restaurant business, and are confident that there will be no impact to our business, our customers and our great tasting food at McDonald’s.”

Mr. Hees assumed the role following the $28 billion takeover of Heinz by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, which owns a stake in Burger King.

McDonald’s declined to provide details on which suppliers the hamburger chain will use instead. Heinz said the company does little business with McDonald’s in U.S. markets.

Asked about the split, a Heinz spokesperson said: “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. 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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