Last week, Heinz, an $11B, 148-year-old multinational corporation, promoted a 29-year-old as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO). That makes David Knopf one of the youngest executives at a Fortune 500 company in history.
Seems improbable that such a large company would trust someone under the age of 90 in such a high-stakes leadership role — but it makes perfect sense with a bit of context.
After graduating from Princeton in 2010, Knopf worked at Goldman Sachs as an i-banker, before landing a job at Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital.
At 3G, he played a prominent role in acquiring coffee and donuts chain Tim Hortons for $12B and merging it with Burger King — and a year later, he helped lead the $45B merger of Kraft and Heinz.
By 2015, he’d risen to partner at 3G, and VP of nuts at Kraft-Heinz.
3G has a rep for robbin’ the cradle
AKA, the investment firm is known for appointing super young execs. Back in 2013, they promoted 32-year-old Daniel Schwartz as CEO of Burger King, and 27-year-old Joshua Kobza as the company’s CFO.
They also have a reputation for “zero-based budgeting” — a leadership style based on cutting down costs to the bare essentials. Which may partly explain why they’re drawn to under-35 execs: they’re hungry and willing to work long hours for less pay.
And by “less” pay, we mean $10m in salary, bonuses, and stock instead of $40m.