Age is no restriction to the skills and expertise that an individual can bring to the table. The latest news that the finances of the multi-billion-dollar ketchup giant, Kraft Heinz Co. will be managed by a 29-year old David Knopf, starting this October is a clear example.
David will take over the role of the Chief Financial Officer at the company, replacing the current CFO Paulo Basilio who has been in this role for a little over 2 years. Paulo Basilio, will move on to take the role of Zone President of the United States business for Kraft-Heinz.
David, who is currently working as the Vice-President and category head of Kraft Heinz’s Planters nuts business, is also a partner at Jorge Lemann’s global investment firm, 3G Capital, which owns 23.9% of Karft-Heinz. He started his career as an Investment Banking Analyst at Goldman Sachs in 2010 and moved to 3G Capital in 2013. In mere 2 years, he joined Kraft Heinz in 2015 as the Vice President – Finance in connection with the prominent $45 million-dollar Kraft Heinz merger. He also made to the Forbes’ 30-under-30 list this year for his role in the $11 billion Burger King-Tim Hortons merger and Heinz’s merger with Kraft.
Interestingly, while David is younger than the youngest Fortune 500 CEOs, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Chairman of Facebook (32 years) and Keith Cozza, President, CEO and Director of Icahn Enterprises L.P., (37 years), he is not the youngest CFO. Joshua Kobza was the CFO at the Restaurant Brands International in 2013 at the age of 28 and Nolan Watson took up the CFO role at Silver Wheaton in 2006 at just 26. If we zoom back to India to look at the current breed of young leaders, Greg Moran, CEO & Co-Founder, ZoomCar (31 years) and Zahabiya Khorakiwala, Managing Director, Wockhardt Hospitals (34 years) are the youngest hottest business leaders 2017 in the Economic Times’ 40 under Forty List.
And there are numerous such examples of young leaders across the globe. Changing businesses and the mushroomed growth of start-ups are today challenging the professional cultures. Board and organizations are not anymore shying away from having young leaders with the decision-making powers. What is important for organizations and talent leaders is to ensure that while the leadership curve for these young leaders may have been smaller; these young leaders should be ready to manage the stress and expectations of a traditionally experienced role.