Dafne Hefner Named First Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer at Kraft Heinz

Lisa Johnston
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Dafne Hefner
Dafne Hefner

Dafne Hefner is joining The Kraft Heinz Company as chief strategy and transformation officer of the North America region, a new role.

The company recently combined its U.S. and Canada businesses as part of its turnaround strategy, expecting the move to streamline operations and improve speed to market. Hefner, who was most recently senior VP of strategy and insights at Anheuser-Busch InBev, will be tasked with accelerating the No. 21 publicly owned consumer goods company’s strategic growth plan for this new region, including a broader deployment of Agile teams and a digital agenda.

She’ll also lead an Agile Center of Excellence with dynamic resource allocation, prioritization of Agile team deployment across functions, and management of the region’s digital resources.

Reporting to executive VP and president of North America at Kraft Heinz Carlos Abrams-Rivera, she’ll join the North America leadership team.

[See also: Kraft Heinz Turnaround Marches On with New Leadership Additions]

Hefner spent eight years at Anheuser-Busch InBev in a range of leadership roles, including VP of regional marketing and brands in the U.S., according to her LinkedIn. While there, she played a lead role in developing the beverage company’s long-term goals and portfolio strategy, with specific work in brand renovation and innovation.

She was also the architect of AB InBev’s first internal research and Agile agency, said Kraft Heinz, with the introduction of new capabilities and an Agile approach to innovation resulting in the company successfully rebalancing its brand portfolio and capturing the largest share of innovation in the industry.

In an interview with Forbes in November, Hefner said the company created some methodologies and technologies from scratch, such as developing an internal consumer panel with more than 200,00 people.

Her team also identified an opportunity to create culturally relevant products in the crowded hard seltzer space by connecting data sets across social media, search data, consumer-generated content and white papers, resulting in the launch of the Bud Light Selzer Retro Summer Pack.

“We ended up then changing the strategy to go to market, because we noticed that once consumers try one of these culturally relevant flavors, they are twice as likely to stay within the brand,” she told Forbes.

Hefner’s background also includes co-founding a data analytics tech startup and serving as a consumer products strategy consultant.

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