Axe hangs over HP Foods team after Heinz takeover

It is understood that Heinz has started a consultation with the team, which is thought to include up to six members of staff, about their future with the company. No staff are believed to have left so far.

Heinz is thought to have started a consultation before the &£470m acquisition was referred to the Competition Commission late last year.

As a result of the investigation, Heinz has been running HP as a separate division and had to retain the marketing team.

One insider says that Heinz has not made clear to the team what its plans are and suggests that Heinz will retain only one of the two most senior HP Foods marketers – marketing director Graham White or John Garnett, who is marketing sales and product development director.

Heinz says that the integration process has begun and a decision relating to personnel will be made “over the coming weeks and months”. Heinz director of corporate affairs Michael Mullin says: “Heinz has a team working on the integration of the two business. It is envisaged the integration will take several months to complete.”

Heinz carried out a review of its advertising and marketing last year. Following the acquisition early last summer, it scrapped its &£25m advertising budget (MW July 21, 2005), but now appears to be reinstating limited advertising. It also restructured its marketing team to create a marketing council, headed by UK managing director Jane Miller. Heinz has retained its agencies Leo Burnett, WCRS and Vizeum, which is now handling HP’s &£7.5m media planning and buying account.

It is not clear what the changes will mean for HP’s advertising agency, Beattie McGuinness Bungay.

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