Heinz has made Stefan Barden interim managing director for the UK and Ireland.
His appointment comes after the retirement of Peter Bowen, md for UK and Ireland, last month.
Barden's new role follows the appointment of Casey Keller as chief growth officer, based at Heinz's US headquarters.
Keller announced plans to invest up to $200m on global marketing this year, focusing on 15 core brands, including Heinz Ketchup.
Barden moves from Heinz Europe where he was director of category development.
Before that he was group managing director for iforce.co.uk, handling fulfilment, response handling and design for internet commerce.
During an earlier spell working for Heinz, he was director of European sauces from 1997 to 2000. Other posts have included work with Unilever in the UK and in Italy and with management consultants McKinsey & Company.
Heinz has said that Barden's appointment does not guarantee his appointment as md for UK and Ireland.
Several other candidates are being considered for the post. However, it does make him the most likely candidate for the job.