Heinz Layoffs Include 600 Workers In Canada, US

H.J. Heinz Co. is laying off 600 workers in the US and Canada, including 350 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company was sold in June and layoffs were decided after the new owners reviewed the company’s operations.

Spokesman Michael Mullen explained that the job cuts will help Heinz boost its efficiency and growth. The company was purchased by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, a Brazilian investment firm.

In the $23.3 billion deal, there were no promises of job retention and no indication there would be layoffs, reports WTAE.

But, according to Mullen, the company’s leadership “examined every piece of our business” to make sure Heinz is better able to compete in the global market.

That review ended with Heinz deciding to lay off 600 workers, which the company’s spokesman called “a number of difficult but necessary organizational changes.”

Heinz announced that it will offer severance packages and outplacement services for the 600 people who will lose their jobs. Mullen added that the company regrets the impact their decision will have on the workers and families.

The Tribune-Review notes that the cuts are likely hardest in Pittsburgh, which is seeing more than half of the layoffs. The number amounts to a third of the city’s total workforce.

Along with the workers, the new Heinz owners also replaced former CEO William Johnson, some of his lieutenants, and other executives. Given the new CEO, Bernardo Hees and 3G Capital have a history of slimming companies down when they take over. They are also known for improving the performance and profits of the companies they take over.

Heinz used to employ 1,200 people at the headquarters in Pittsburgh. However, that number is now 800 and office workers will move into PPG Place. The company is expected to sublease space in its Heinz 57 Center.

The layoffs aren’t surprising for Heinz employees, who have been tense since the takeover. Analysts also predicted the layoffs, given 3G’s other deals with companies like Burger King and Anheuser Busch.

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