29-Year-Old Prodigy Named Kraft Heinz CFO

David Knopf's promotion is "another sign that financial professionals are accumulating more and more responsibility at a younger age."
Matthew HellerSeptember 8, 2017

At the age of only 29, 3G Capital partner David Knopf has made it to the C-suite of a $100 billion, Fortune 500 company with his appointment as CFO of Kraft Heinz.

The precocious Princeton graduate has been working at Kraft Heinz since the merger of Kraft Foods and H.J. Heinz in 2015, most recently as vice president of the Planters nut brand. Private-equity firm 3G, which he joined in 2013, owns 23.9% of Kraft Heinz.

Knopf will replace Paulo Basilio, 42, as finance chief of Kraft Heinz, with Basilio moving on to become president of the company’s U.S. business.

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Knopf’s “promotion to such a big position at the age of 29 is another sign that financial professionals are accumulating more and more responsibility at a younger age,” Forbes said. “3G is known for handing big roles to younger professionals but the trend seems to be getting broader both on Wall Street and beyond.”

After graduating from Princeton in 2010, Knopf worked for Onex Partners as a private equity associate and Goldman Sachs as an investment banking analyst. He initially joined 3G as an analyst and was promoted to partner in 2015.

In addition to working on the 3G-led $11 billion Burger King acquisition of Tim Hortons, he played a prominent role in the $45 billion Kraft Heinz merger. His duties at Kraft Heinz have included overseeing the Planters brand and heading global budget and business planning, as well as zero-based budgeting and financial strategic planning.

According to Business Insider, “Knopf will have his work cut out for him [as CFO]. The company has not posted any sales growth since the 2015 merger. Since then, the Pittsburgh-based company been known more for cutting costs than expanding brands.”

Kraft Heinz shares are down about 6.5% so far this year. “Packaged foods as a whole have struggled this year as more consumers shift toward fresher options and smaller, local brands,” Business Insider noted.

Other young executives promoted by 3G include 37-year-old Daniel Schwartz, who is CEO of Burger King parent Restaurant Brands International.