David Knopf, 29 years old, represents a new breed of millennial executives who have risen up the ranks at global companies.
Global food company Kraft Heinz has announced that 29-year-old David Knopf, a former partner with American-Brazilian private equity firm 3G Capital, will become its new CFO.
3G Capital collaborated in recent years with investment firm Berkshire Hathaway to acquire several global food brands, such as Burger King and Tim Hortons. 3G Capital took Heinz private in 2013. It later bought Kraft and merged it with Heinz in 2015. Since then, the leadership of the company has been replaced by senior 3G executives. Alex Behring, 3G managing partner, became the chairman of the merged company, and another 3G partner, Bernardo Hees, became Heinz’s CEO.
Knopf represents a new breed of millennial executives who have risen up the ranks at global companies. He only joined Kraft Heinz in 2015, and his last position was as vice president of Planters, the company’s peanut brand.
The company’s choice of a young corporate leader shouldn’t be underestimated. Corporations around the globe are struggling to execute management succession plans and intergenerational knowledge transfer. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics data, millennials now hold approximately 20% of all US management jobs, and this number will rise dramatically in the coming years as baby boomers retire from the workforce.
While effective hiring is critical to offset the wave of retirement among the older generations, misperceptions about millennial executives often influence hiring considerations. But they may have more in common with the prior generation than many think.
A recent Oxford Economics’ report, Workforce 2020, confirms that “41% of millennials say higher compensation would increase their loyalty and engagement with the company.” Thirty-eight percent of non-millennials share similar priorities.
Kraft Heinz’s new leadership will have to confront changing consumer preferences, especially among millennials.
It is closely following other global food companies in creating venture vehicles to invest in growth independent brands and food start-ups, such as Kellogg’s new venture fund, Eighteen94 Capital.