Lesson #2: Doing it in a semi-public place tends to minimize the odds people will make a scene.

Lesson #3: Everyone loves a catchy tune.

HJ Heinz Co.’s longtime leader Bill Johnson stood in the Veranda ballroom at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, addressing the ketchup maker’s top 50 executives for the last time. Around the corner in a smaller room, his successor as chief executive officer, Bernardo Hees, waited to tell some of the same managers whether they still had jobs. What was slated as an annual leadership meeting became an opportunity for Hees to dismiss 11 senior executives, according to three people familiar with the gathering, who asked not to be identified because it was private. The June 17 session was about a week after Heinz’s $23.3 billion sale to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Jorge Paulo Lemann’s 3G Capital…The cuts at the 144-year-old company pushed some executives to weigh leaving Heinz, the people have said. The new management sought to build spirit by embroidering employees’ shirts with the ketchup maker’s logo and has proposed composing a company song, one person said.


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  1. Posted by guest | September 18, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    please say the guy dressed as the bottle was the one that did the firing.

  2. Posted by guest | September 18, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    attn: ubs

  3. Posted by Guest | September 18, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    How would putting a ketchup logo on my shirt increase my morale?

    – UBS HR Quant

  4. Posted by guest | September 18, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    I'd love to see a Venn diagram overlap of fired UBS employees who end up at Hunt's.

    -guy who predicts there might be more than you'd think

  5. Posted by Hunts Field | September 18, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    We used to play football every day after school on the hunts lawn, like 20 people. great games. So big we called it Hunts field, and they were cool with it too, never bothered by gardner or anyone else. Different times, steeler era.

  6. Posted by anonhfm | September 18, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Let me tell you about that meeting… antici-paaaaation…

    –fan of 70s Heinz TV spots

  7. Posted by Guesty | September 18, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    You might try it out by just dripping some ketchup on your shirt. Any shape will do.

  8. Posted by UBS | September 18, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Leadership Lesson 4: Distribute high-end ultra-coveted Swiss watches (Swatch) and then fire first year analysts before bonuses are announced. I like the cut of your jib, Heinz.