Panera Bread has brought on Eduardo Luz, the former U.S. chief marketing officer at Kraft Heinz, as its chief brand and concept officer. The move went into effect May 26.

He will oversee Panera’s marketing, digital, strategy/insights, and culinary teams, the company said. Panera CMO Chris Holander and chief digital officer George Hanson will report to Luz.

“The entire Panera family is excited to welcome Eduardo Luz as our new chief brand and concept officer,” Niren Chaudhary, Panera CEO, said in an email statement to QSR. “Eduardo is a highly experienced and creative business leader with a proven track record of success with building global brands. We look forward to his innovative and action-oriented brand leadership that will help us take Panera into the future.”

Luz left Kraft Heinz in May 2019 and most recently worked at nutritional supplement company 8Greens as chief executive, a role he took in July 2019.

“I have been a long-time admirer of the Panera brand—it’s a huge positive force for the food industry, from its mission to its leadership in clean food and commitment to making great food accessible to all,” he said in a statement. “I’m excited to join the team and leverage the brand’s amazing legacy to take it to new highs, adding further excitement and energy to our brand and concept.”

Luz spent six years at Kraft Heinz, running its grocery business. According to AdWeek, he directed the removal of all artificial flavors and dyes from some of the company’s classic products, like Kraft Mac & Cheese.

All of Panera’s offerings are free of artificial preservatives, flavors, sweeteners, and colors from artificial sources.

As of December 30, 2019, there were 2,178 bakery-cafes in 48 states and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread or Saint Louis Bread Co. names. 

Fast Casual, Story, Panera Bread