Kraft Heinz has hired Janelle Orozco as its chief procurement officer for its North American business, the company announced in late November.
Orozco most recently served as CPO for Diageo, where she started some two decades ago as an ingredients buyer. Orozco took on the CPO title at the beverage giant in 2019 and led, according to Heinz, “a significant and successful transformation of the [p]rocurement function.”
At Kraft Heinz, she will play what the company described as a “critical role” within its global procurement organization and serve as a “key member” of the company’s North American leadership.
She will report to both Carlos Abrams-Rivera, president of the North America zone at Heinz, as well as the food company’s global CPO, Marcos Eloi, according to a press release.
Kraft is a massive buyer of all kinds of commodities, everything from dairy and meat products to potatoes to cocoa, among other goods. It sources from a range of suppliers, including both large, international producers and local, independent sellers, and it seeks out preferred purchaser status where it can, the company notes in its 10-K.
Winning favorable prices and a secure supply is as important as ever, given the cost inflation and supply disruptions over the course of the pandemic. Higher supply chain costs — including in procurement and manufacturing as well as commodity and packaging prices — cost Kraft Heinz $447 million in operating income for fiscal 2021.
Prior to the pandemic, the company was investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission over misconduct in its procurement operation stemming from insufficient review of supplier contracts. Following the scandal, the food giant turned its focus away from cost-cutting and toward more supply chain visibility.
Abrams-Rivera said in the release that the company is “on a quest to create a renowned” procurement function in its operations. “Janelle joining our team is a marker of the transformation of this function,” he said of Orozco’s hire. “She brings a breadth of experience and knack for developing diverse, high-performing teams.”