Heinz's New Recipe: Take A Dollop Of Dollars...Maria Mallory
On Sept. 11, H. J. Heinz Co.'s top executives assembled for a regular quarterly meeting that soon took an unusual turn. Presiding was Anthony J. F. O'Reilly, the charismatic chief executive who squeezes earnings growth out of Heinz as efficiently as Heinz squeezes ketchup from tomatoes. This day, however, the notoriously tight-fisted O'Reilly had a new role. Flush with $221 million from the sale of a subsidiary, he pored over the marketing plans of each business and began to hand out the cash. He told his managers to spend to build their brands--and fast. "It was the first time I got what I asked for," says William R. Johnson, who runs Heinz Pet Food Products Co.
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