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Ex Heinz CEO to consult for private equity shop

William Johnson in February, 2013.
AP
William Johnson in February, 2013.

One of the world's largest private equity firms will now be getting advice from the man who ran one of the largest food companies.

Advent International, the $32 billion firm that focuses on corporate buyouts, announced Tuesday that William Johnson, the former chairman, CEO and president of H.J. Heinz, would join the firm as a consultant.

"Bill is one of the premier executives in the consumer packaged goods industry, and we are excited that he has agreed to support the Advent team," Jeff Case, a managing director at Advent, said in a statement. "Bill's expertise in consumer products and food will complement our extensive experience in the retail space and further strengthen our ability to source new investments and drive value creation in our portfolio."

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Johnson, a 31-year Heinz veteran, will be one of more than 60 independent consultants for Advent as part of its "operating partners" program for senior industry executives from various fields. He stepped down as head of Heinz in 2013 when the company was bought by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital.

In the role, Johnson will "work closely with Advent's global retail and consumer team to identify and evaluate investment opportunities in the consumer industry with a particular focus on consumer packaged goods and food," the announcement said.

Advent's current American portfolio companies include Party City, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Bojangles' and Tweeter Home Entertainment.

Johnson is no longer a Heinz board member but is a director for Emerson Electric and UPS. He previously served on the boards of PNC Financial Services Group, Clorox, Georgia-Pacific, Amerada Hess and the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

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By CNBC's Lawrence Delevingne

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