PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Food company H.J. Heinz Co. is eliminating 600 jobs across the U.S. and in Canada, including 350 in Pittsburgh.

At the Heinz 57 Center Downtown, some employees got the news early in the day. There were also layoffs at the company’s PPG Place location.

Heinz spokesman Michael Mullen says in a statement that employees were notified of the cuts Tuesday morning, about two months after the company was sold to private investors. Mullen says Heinz regrets the impact on Heinz employees and is offering enhanced severance packages.

Mullen says the cuts will better position Heinz for growth in a highly competitive global food market.

“As part of our transition to a private company, the Senior Leadership Team has examined every piece of our business to better position Heinz for accelerated growth in a very competitive global market. After a comprehensive evaluation process, the Company has developed a new, streamlined structure for Heinz North America. Unfortunately, this process resulted in a number of difficult but necessary organizational changes, including the elimination of 600 office positions across the U.S. and Canada, including 350 in Pittsburgh. We regret the impact this has on Heinz employees and their families,” Mullen said in a statement.

In June Heinz was bought and taken private by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and the Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital in a $23.3 billion deal.

In April, 95 percent of the shareholders approved the acquisition of Heinz by Berkshire Company and 3Gfor $72.50 per share.

Jim Craft, from Pitt’s Katz School of Business that serves courses for medical assistants, says it’s not really a surprise, because he says 3G has a reputation for cost cutting and layoffs.

Mullen says Heinz will remain headquartered in Pittsburgh.

“Heinz will remain headquartered in Pittsburgh, demonstrating the Company’s commitment to the region. To foster increased collaboration and faster decision making, the vast majority of Heinz’s Pittsburgh-based employees will come together as one team in an open office environment in One PPG Place,” Mullen said. “We look forward to continuing to call Pittsburgh our home, as it has been for 144 years. Heinz will continue to employ 800 people in the Pittsburgh region and 6,000 across North America.”

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says it’s unfortunately part of corporate America. However, he says the good news is that Heinz has affirmed that it will remain headquartered in Pittsburgh.

The company says the vast majority of employees will now work in an open office environment in One PPG Place.


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