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The billionaire who helped establish food-and-beverage giant Kraft Heinz, Warren Buffett, is set to retire from the board of the company as he reduces his travel commitments.
Buffett is already 87 years old. In a statement this evening, Kraft Heinz said that he would be stepping down at the end of his term. The company that is based in Pittsburgh will nominate Alexandre Van Damme to fill in the vacancy after Buffett retires. Berkshire Hathaway, the firm of Buffett, will still be represented on the board by Greg Abel and Tracy Britt Cool.
Buffett has been cutting down his commitments to other company boards in the past years. He stepped down from the Washington Post’s board in 2011 and retired from the board of Coca-Cola in 2006.
The billionaire investor was instrumental in the establishment of Kraft Heinz, teaming up with the 3G Capital of Jorge Paulo Lemann to acquire HJ Heinz, the ketchup maker, in 2013 and merge the company with Kraft Foods Group after two years.
In late trading Friday, the shares of Kraft Heinz declined following the news. It fell by as much as 1.5pc to $67.98 before being able to recover. The financing of Buffett is seen as pivotal to the acquisition ambitions of the company, which are essential to growth for an outfit that has been reducing costs.
The shares have been affected since the bid of the company for Unilever failed a little more than a year ago, dropping by almost 30pc and wiping out over $33bn (£24bn) in market value.
The said deal fell apart following resistance from Paul Polman, the chief executive officer of Unilever, and in part due to the well-known aversion of Buffett to hostile takeovers.
According to the statement of Kraft Heinz, Van Damme is a member of the board of Restaurant Brands International and Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Berkshire, where Buffett is the CEO and chairman, is scheduled to release its annual letter to shareholders on Saturday.