Business & Financial

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett to retire from Kraft Heinz board

FILE PHOTO: Berkshire Hathaway CEO Buffett talks to reporters prior to the Berkshire annual meeting in Omaha

FILE PHOTO: Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett talks to reporters prior to the Berkshire annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S. on May 2, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

(Reuters) – Kraft Heinz Co said on Friday billionaire investor Warren Buffett has decided to retire from the company’s board following the end of his term in April to reduce travel commitments.

H.J. Heinz Co, backed by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc and Brazil’s private equity firm 3G Capital, acquired Kraft Foods Group in 2015 to create one of the biggest food and beverage companies in the world.

Berkshire Hathaway is Kraft Heinz’s biggest shareholder with 26.7 percent stake as of Dec. 31, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Last week, the maker of Velveeta cheese and Heinz ketchup reported disappointing fourth-quarter results, a sign of continued pressure on processed food makers as more Americans opt for healthier meals.

In the last few years, Buffett, 87, has shed many of his non-Berkshire responsibilities.

Last month, he gave two top executives Ajit Jain and Gregory Abel greater oversight of Berkshire’s operating businesses, cementing their status as the front runners to succeed Buffett atop the conglomerate.

Kraft said it plans to nominate Alexandre Van Damme, a board member of Anheuser-Busch Inbev and Restaurant Brands International, to stand for election to Buffett’s place in its 2018 annual stockholder meeting.

Abel and Tracy Cool, chief executive of Berkshire’s unit, Pampered Chef, are the other Berkshire representatives on Kraft’s board.

Kraft’s shares were down 1.4 percent in extended trading on Friday.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

 

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