Kraft Heinz Director of Corporate and Government Affairs speaks with LSST students about leadership, sustainability and careers
By Kunal Chan Mehta | Article Date: 12 August 2019
A globally trusted producer of instantly-recognisable foods, The Kraft Heinz Company provides quality, taste and nutrition for all eating occasions whether at home, in restaurants or on the go.
The Kraft Heinz Company, led by a world class Board of Directors, has an unparalleled record for performance and for investing in world-class brands.
LSST students were given a bespoke and exceptional opportunity to put their leadership, sustainability and career questions to Dr Nigel Dickie – Kraft Heinz Director of Corporate and Government Affairs for Europe, Middle East & Africa.
LSST student interviewers: Renata Carvalho, SU President; Angel Terjek, Business Foundation Degree student, Robert Beijnariu, Business student, Alperton London campus; Taja Mabery, Public Health and Health Promotion student, Elephant and Castle London campus; Suzanne Knight, Public Health and Health Promotion student, Elephant and Castle London campus; Cornelia Den Breejen, Computing student, LSST Luton campus; and Claudia Anania, Business student, LSST Birmingham campus. Interview coordinators: Ali Jafar Zaidi, Marketing and Admissions Director, LSST, and Kunal Chan Mehta, LSST’s Senior Lecturer and Press Officer.
1. Please tell us about your journey into Kraft Heinz. What inspired you to start at Kraft Heinz?
With a BSc and PhD in Nutrition from London University, I started my career working for Unilever as company Nutritionist. I soon found the communications part of the role to be the most inspiring and also the most challenging. With that in mind, I changed my career path and in 1985 joined Counsel, part of the Huntsworth international communications group, and was appointed Managing Director in 1992.
Whilst in this role I was fortunate to gain extensive international food and drink communications experience including work for clients such as Heinz, PepsiCo, Diageo, Marks & Spencer and Sodexho.
I joined Heinz as Director, Corporate and Government Affairs in 2005. And then following the merger of Kraft Foods and Heinz in 2015, I was appointed as Director of Corporate & Government Affairs for Kraft Heinz Europe, Middle East & Africa with responsibility for all external communications and government relations. The journey in the last four years has been the most exciting yet.
2. What does your current role as The Director of Corporate & Government Affairs involve?
Essentially looking after the reputation of our brands and business with our multiple stakeholders from Government, Regulators, NGOs, the media, our customers and of course our consumers. It’s about amplifying and protecting. The role is very varied and no two days are ever the same which is why it’s so engaging and interesting.
3. How do you inspire your people to work at their best?
The first step in being an inspirational leader is to make people feel wanted. Beyond that, inspiration depends on reaching people as individuals. Here are a few practices for starters that you can put into action today.
• Follow through on commitments and keep promises.
• Focus on achieving the most important goals without getting distracted.
• Display enthusiasm and energy.
• Help the team understand the “why” behind big decisions.
• Exhibit genuine concern for people.
• Have high standards and hold the team to them.
• Provide clarity in all communication.
• Treat everyone with respect and dignity.
• Take time to celebrate success.
4. What one word best describes how you work?
5. Is there one product you favour over the others? Please reveal all.
Although Heinz is famous for its 57 varieties as of today there are around 4,000 around the world. Tough to choose just one. I love Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Cream of Tomato Soup and Heinz Beanz. I grew up with Beanz Meanz Heinz.
6. What is your smartest work-related shortcut?
Creating rituals and routines.
7. How is the Kraft Heinz Company dedicated to the sustainable health of its people and our planet?
You can read our current CSR report at the link here:
We believe “Growing A Better World” means working to improve our planet, its people and the communities where we work and live.
When Kraft Heinz was formed in 2015, we prioritized corporate citizenship and sustainability efforts. We began with stakeholder engagement and a materiality analysis, and leveraged our findings to focus on high-priority issues in areas where we can make the greatest impact.
Our goal is to build trust among our Company’s broad set of stakeholders by promoting socially responsible practices across our supply chain, setting aggressive environmental goals, improving the products we sell and making impactful advancements in communities – all with a commitment to transparency and two-way dialogue.
8. As a socially responsible global food company, how is The Kraft Heinz Company committed to reducing its environmental footprint – and protecting the planet’s natural resources for future generations?
We have implemented a universal process to achieve our sustainability goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, solid landfill waste and water consumption. From our 2015 baseline, we have pledged to achieve the following in our manufacturing facilities by 2020:
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15%
Reduce energy consumption by 15%
Reduce water consumption by 15%
Reduce solid waste sent to landfill by 15%
Last year we expanded our environmental commitments to include sustainable packaging and carbon reduction, with the aim to make 100% of our packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025; and increase usage of recycled materials; and pledges to set science-based emissions reduction targets
9. What does the company mean when it says it is investing in world-class brands and long-term value creation?
The Kraft Heinz Company is revolutionizing the food industry – we will be the most profitable food company powered by the most talented people with unwavering commitment to our communities, leading brands and highest product quality in every category in which we compete.
As a global powerhouse, Kraft Heinz represents over $26 billion in revenue and is the 5th largest food and beverage company in the world. At Kraft Heinz, to be the BEST food company, growing a BETTER world is more than a dream – it is our GLOBAL VISION. To be the best, we want the best – best brands, best practices and, most importantly, the best people.
10. Kraft Heinz is transforming the food industry with bold thinking and unprecedented results. What type of talent is the company looking for?
We have a very strong company culture, which is very important to us. It’s what makes us different. For this reason we are looking for talent with the following characteristics:
Ownership – Thinks and acts like an owner
Intellect – Data driven insights and results. Simplifies and Solves
Intensity – Proactive and self-driven to add value
Courage – Thinks big and makes bold choices
Engagement – Attracts, retains, motivates talent
Learning Agility – Potential to work in any function
Delivers – Output metrics as the ultimate measure
11. What advice do you have for LSST’s students?
Ask a lot of questions and talk to as many people as you can at a company you’re interested in. Never forget, companies are not only evaluating you, you are also evaluating them. Find out what is the right fit for you.
Please email the author of this article email@example.com for any questions or comments on this article or to find out more on participating in similar events and interviews.
To find out more about the Kraft Heinz company visit: https://www.kraftheinzcompany.com/