Kraft Heinz names 29-year-old as CFO in executive shuffle

Kraft Heinz is tapping a 29-year-old to be chief financial officer, among other leadership changes announced Friday.

David Knopf, who also will serve as executive vice president, will replace Paulo Basilio as CFO effective Oct. 1. Basilio, 42, will be bumped up to zone president of the company's U.S. business. These changes at the top come as Kraft Heinz continues to try to grow its top-line sales, in addition to cutting costs and increasing profits, even as it's widely expected to pursue a major acquisition.

In Basilio's new role, he'll be "responsible for all facets of our U.S. business," the company said in a release Friday.

Knopf's promotion to CFO at such a young age is firmly in line with the culture of Kraft Heinz, which is co-headquartered in Chicago and Pittsburgh. The company, backed by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and Brazilian private equity firm 3G Capital, is known for being a place where ambition and results are valued over experience.

Knopf, a Goldman Sachs alum, joined Kraft Heinz in July 2015 when Kraft Foods merged with H.J. Heinz Co., according to the news release Friday. He worked for 3G Capital in the two years prior.Kraft Heinz confirmed Friday that Knopf will be the youngest high-ranking executive at the company.

Basilio joined Heinz as CFO in June 2013, the release said.

George Zoghbi, currently chief operating officer of the U.S. business, will remain a full-time employee of Kraft Heinz as a strategic adviser, the release said. He previously held the same position for Kraft Foods and was considered instrumental in providing continuity after the merger.

Kraft Heinz reported no changes in compensation Friday for Basilio or Knopf.

Last year, Basilio made about $2.7 million in total compensation, according to the company's last proxy statement. Zoghbi made about $12.1 million in total compensation last year, which included a $7 million bonus, according to the filing. Knopf's compensation was not disclosed.

gtrotter@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @GregTrotterTrib

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