IN GOOD COMPANY by Eleanor Foa Dienstag


125 Years at the Heinz Table, 1869-1994
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 If Candide had written corporate histories, he would have produced the same sort of Panglossian piffle as Dienstag (Whither Thou Goest, 1976) in her sunny-side-up appreciation of H.J. Heinz Co. on the occasion of its 125th anniversary. Although accorded apparently open access by the Pittsburgh- based food processor, the author can do no better than a credulous, episodic celebration that will add precious little to either Main Street's or Wall Street's knowledge of a consequential multinational enterprise. Following a brief overview, Dienstag offers short takes on the five men who have served as chief officers over the years, starting with Henry John Heinz (reverentially referred to throughout as ``the Founder'') and concluding with a walk-on-water profile of the incumbent CEO, Dublin-born Anthony J.F. O'Reilly (who has been allowed to append an afterword lauding the company's global reach). Having done with the head men, Dienstag casts an approving eye on the higher-profile goods and brands within the Heinz fold. Separately reported cases in point range from baby foods, beans, ketchup, pet foods, and pickles through soups (most of which are now vended under private labels); covered as well are Ore-Ida, StarKist, and Weight Watchers. Relentlessly upbeat, the author's ingenuous, deadly earnest appraisals of major business groups will neither discomfit sources nor gain her fame as a stylist, e.g., ``Today, Heinz remains on the cutting edge of agricultural and tomato-paste- processing innovation.'' Fifty-seven varieties and more of apple-polishing baloney. The tedious, discontinuous text includes a ridiculous foreword from Henry Kissinger and a wealth of photos, most of which fall in the handout category.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1994
ISBN: 0-446-51797-6
Page count: 376pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1994