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.