Miguel Patricio, CEO at Kraft Heinz and Jodi Harris, Global VP Marketing, Culture and Capabilities at AbInBev sat down with IRG Founder Frank van den Driest for a 'virtual fireside chat' about culture, capabilty, and empathic leadership. Here are a few quotes from the conversation.

Frank van den Driest: "I'm particularly pleased to welcome not one, but two guests for this session. Miguel, how do you see yourself as a leader? I'm asking because the trajectory that you made: climbing the ranks in marketing – being the CMO of the world’s largest beer company to becoming the CEO of the Kraft Heinz group – is inspiring to our viewers and to many CMOs. What is your secret sauce?"
Miguel Patricio: "I think it is hard to talk about ourselves as ‘leaders’ but I will try to answer the second part of your question, which is unfortunately related to the fact that we don't have too many CEOs that come from the marketing part of the business. I don't know why that is. The first thing you need, of course, is ambition. But on top of ambition, it’s really about believing that marketing is a key part of the business and being business-driven. Before becoming CEO, I was the head of two very important zones, North America and the Asia Pacific, and before that I was in marketing. But I wanted to manage a business and a zone and that gave me the experience to manage a big business and the necessary qualifications to become a CEO one day."

"I think, in a consumer goods company, marketing is a must for any CMO to become a CEO. It is the natural path. Because marketing is the part of the company that really thinks and understands the future, that sets and drives the strategy of the company. Marketing is a big part of the work of a CEO in a CPG company. Even at ABI, for a long time, I was the only person with a marketing background on the leadership team. Today, half of the leadership team members all are from marketing. I think this has been an evolution."

"My next battle is to get Kraft Heinz in the top three of creative companies"

Frank van den Driest: "During your stint at ABI, did you pave the way? Were you a role model for the board to see that we need more marketers on our boards? Or was it more that you inspired more marketers to strive towards becoming board members?"

Miguel Patricio: "I think both. I inspired the board, and I encouraged my people to have the ambition to get there. I think the company has really evolved. Another sign of that, and something I feel proud of, is that 10 years ago, we were afraid of creativity. ABI was a very efficient company, but being efficient is the opposite of being creative. Because to be creative, you have to take risks. We were risk-averse and so we launched a big program on creativity, which really helped us to progress. Today, there's all these misunderstandings about our culture. But the truth is, according to Cannes, the number three company in creativity in the world is ABI. Number one is Burger King and number two is Nike. But that didn't happen overnight. Five years ago, ABI was not even in the rankings. Now my next battle is to put Kraft there as well."

Frank van den Driest: "Jodi, How do you think consumer behavior will change after COVID-19 and how will that impact your business? What insights and strategic adjustments have you done so far?"

Jodi Harris: "Interestingly, a lot of changes in consumer behavior that we're seeing right now had already been slowly changing over the past few years. Of course, many more new behaviors are emerging as well. There are a couple that I can talk about. One is how people are socializing - we're seeing many more intimate gatherings; people are meeting one-on-one even on Zoom or the Houseparty app. The level and depth of conversation that they're having is much more intimate and meaningful, and we’re trying to understand the role that we can play in bringing people together, albeit at a distance."

"We're also monitoring very closely what's going to happen in bars and restaurants. As governments and cities are starting to reopen, people are very hesitant to go back to socializing like they once did, especially in massive parties and clubbing. And we’re actually seeing a lot of that behavior being mimicked at home. In China, there's a new phenomenon called e-clubbing. At ABI, we're highlighting different DJs and people are gathering and drinking responsibly. So, we're seeing smart drinking become a really big space for us to continue championing. We've taken that live-streaming idea and we've now scaled it across several of the other markets. In Brazil, we have a brand called Brahma, which basically broke the internet a couple of weeks ago because of a live-streaming event that they hosted by tapping into nostalgic music artists and acts and just giving people a reason to reconnect."

About Miguel Patricio

Miguel Patricio is the Chief Executive Officer of The Kraft Heinz Company. Prior to Kraft Heinz, Miguel spent 20+ years at Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), where he served as part of the Executive Leadership team in various positions, driving organic growth and industry-leading margins. Miguel was the Global Chief Marketing Officer at AB InBev from 2012-2018. In this role, he developed and implemented a strategic playbook for global brands Corona, Budweiser and Stella Artois, accelerating organic sales growth which represented more than one-third of AB InBev’s organic growth and accounted for more than 20 percent of AB InBev’s 2018 year-end global revenues. Prior to that, he was AB InBev’s President of Asia Pacific from 2008 to 2012 and President of North America from 2006 to 2008. Before his career at AB InBev, Miguel held a variety of leadership positions at other global consumer packaged goods companies including Philip Morris, The Coca-Cola Company and Johnson & Johnson. He holds a degree in Business Administration from Fundacao Getulio Vargas in São Paulo.

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About Jodi Harris

Jodi Harris is vice president of consumer strategy & insights for Anheuser-Busch, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev. In her role, Jodi leads all aspects of U.S. consumer-centric strategy across marketing and sales for a broad portfolio of brands – most notably America’s best-selling beer, Bud Light, and iconic King of Beers, Budweiser – as well Michelob ULTRA, Stella Artois, Busch, Bud Light Lime Lime-A-Rita, Goose Island, Estrella Jalisco and a host of regional brands.

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