McDonald’s and Heinz are calling it quits after more than 40 years together. McDonald’s announced the change on Friday, explaining that Heinz is now run by Bernardo Hees, the former chief executive of hamburger rival Burger King.
The switch will be more noticeable overseas than in the US, since the company only serves Heinz ketchup in two domestic markets. Still, the move could benefits Heinz ketchup rivals Hunt’s and Del Monte.
Reuters reports that McDonald’s released a statement about the Heinz break-up, saying, “As a result of recent management changes at Heinz, we have decided to transition our business to other suppliers over time.”
The change will happen over time, according to the restaurant chain, which added, “We have spoken to Heinz and plan to work together to ensure a smooth and orderly transition.”
Heinz hasn’t commented on the decision made by McDonald’s, explaining that it has a policy against commenting on relationships with its customers, notes USA Today.
Bernardo Hees became CEO of Burger King after 3G Capital purchased the fast food chain in 2010. He slashed costs, changed the menu, and launched a huge marketing campaign to compete against long-time rival McDonald’s. Hees was then appointed CEO of Heinz after the company was purchased by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and 3G in June.
Hees still serves as vice chairman of Burger King’s board and is a partner with 3G Capital, a Brazilian investment firm. Burger King has been a customer of Heinz’ for “decades” and uses the condiment company’s products in about 80 percent of its markets around the world.
Given Hees’ appointment as head of Heinz and his relationship with Burger King, it isn’t surprising the company is being dumped by McDonald’s. It isn’t clear how long the transition away from Heinz will take.