How Kraft Heinz IT Empowers People with the Power of Tech
Written by Kara Bobowski
Corrado Azzarita serves as Global CIO at Kraft Heinz, one of the largest global food and beverage companies, with 2020 sales of approximately $26 billion and over 38,000 employees.
Born and raised in Italy, Azzarita began his career in IT at Procter & Gamble Italy in 1995. After several regional and global IT assignments, he became CIO of P&G Italy in 2005. He handled numerous responsibilities at P&G before moving to Mondelēz International and then joining Kraft Heinz in 2017.
At Kraft Heinz, Azzarita has led important transformations in the SAP domain, and he focused on Artificial Intelligence to deliver innovative solutions and bring to life a data-driven organization and culture. As Global CIO, he is now spearheading the digital transformation of the company and shared some of what he’s learned with us.
Tell us about your global footprint -- what does that look like?
Our portfolio is a diverse mix of iconic and emerging brands. As the guardians of these brands and the creators of innovative new products, we are dedicated to the sustainable health of our people and our planet.
With more than 300 team members in over 20 countries, I proudly lead Information Technology as Global CIO. We are the technology engine Powering the Growth of Kraft Heinz and are enabling the company’s digital transformation – all thanks to our dynamic global team – by continuously providing new and innovative capabilities. Our commitment is to provide a stable and secure technology environment that guarantees flawless business operations.
What do you enjoy most and what is the biggest challenge about leading global teams, operations and strategy?
As Global CIO, I have the privilege of leading a global team that thinks big and chases the impossible – while adding real value. I have a passion – and strongly believe – that technology is a key enabler to solving business problems.
Through this work, I enjoy solving wicked, complex issues and take pride in seeing tangible results."
While technology functions might be perceived by old stereotypes, I believe – and commit to – driving a human-centric agenda that’s about making people laugh, using tech to bring people together & inspire, and ultimately having fun.
To me, the biggest challenge about leading global teams is to find the right balance between the intent to simplify and drive scale with the need to recognize local differences and amplify the related competitive advantage. Here, we’ve set priorities in collaboration with the business through a dynamic business relationship management (BRM) process. With a global framework and strategy in place, in tandem we ensure local and regional needs are also heard and prioritized in real-time. At the end of the day, our north star is to empower our IT team and all Kraft Heinz employees to bring their best selves to work every single day – all through the power of technology.
What is your advice to other global business leaders on driving global standardization while being regionally responsive?
While our IT strategy is designed as a global framework, regional responsiveness is ensured through our international IT structure – in addition to the BRM process. Here, localized needs are managed by our international IT team that is equipped with our global solutions, best practices, and resources.
My advice for other business leaders includes the consideration of moving away from a “one size fits all” approach and towards a “one size fits many” alternative. This allows organizations or functions to incorporate in the thinking process an explicit intent to provide tiering of both functionality and cost.
Also, it is worthwhile to consider creating several hubs for an organization or functions and identify a certain team to be present in at least two hubs – both strategically located. This will promote diversity of thinking and create an incentive for local responsiveness while mitigating the “ivory tower” risk. Subsequently, this will result in the creation of a stronger bonding with local business units and stakeholders.
How would you describe your global culture? How is this translated or manifested in your worldwide locations?
We're committed to our purpose: Making Life Delicious, for our people, our consumers, and our communities worldwide. Being one of the world's leading food and beverage companies is both a privilege and a huge responsibility. We walk in our purpose by living our values, which make up our common language, define our shared culture, and reflect the company we're working to become each day.
In IT at Kraft Heinz everyone is welcome at our table. We respect, value, and yearn for diversity of thought, experience, and opinion. We live up to these values by frequently recognizing our team members’ accomplishments and ensuring accessibility to IT Leadership through quarterly Q&A forums and other engagement activities. Every day we aspire to work as a team, inspire excellence, and navigate our future together.
Leaders in multinational companies can have an enormous impact on the world. How should global business and technology leaders be driving change and creating a better world for everyone to live in?
Our CEO Miguel Patricio stated, “We are a global business, yes – but we are global citizens first, who believe in helping create a healthier and more sustainable environment for all of us. And how we bring this to life as a company is as important as what we do.” I could not agree more.
One of our Kraft Heinz values – We do the right thing – means that we will always strive to do the right thing in all aspects of our business, including with our customers, partners, suppliers, stakeholders, consumers, and communities. Our Environmental Social Governance (ESG) commitment is centered around three key pillars: Environmental Stewardship, Responsible Sourcing, and Healthy Living & Community Support.
One may ask, “How does technology support the Kraft Heinz ESG?” In so many incredibly impactful ways! IT plays a key role in bringing this to life by driving a digital agenda that enables Kraft Heinz to move faster and smarter in living up to these commitments – and ultimately serve as a leading corporate citizen.
Our number one goal is to make everyone feel empowered and uplifted by the power of tech.”
In addition, we’re ensuring that our innovation and digitization efforts are inclusive and representative of our diverse team and consumers. We’re on a mission to ensure that our communications, tech rollouts, and general IT identity is as inclusive as possible by driving a human-centric, people-first agenda.
We believe that technology helps bring folks together of all backgrounds and our number one goal is to make everyone feel empowered and uplifted by the power of tech. As a strategic business partner, we do what is right for Kraft Heinz and measure success by meaningful business outcomes.
Special thanks to Corrado Azzarita and Kraft Heinz.
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