AB InBev announces executive leadership changes

The world’s largest brewer, AB InBev, has announced a number of executive leadership changes including the appointment of Michel Doukeris as the new CEO of AB InBev North America.

Michel Doukeris will take over as CEO of AB InBev North America on 1 January 2018.

AB InBev announced yesterday (13 November) that Michel Doukeris, AB InBev’s current chief sales officer, will take over from João Castro Neves as the new CEO of AB InBev North America.

Doukeris will officially takeover on 1 January 2018 and will be supported by Castro Neves during a transitional period.

In a statement, Carlos Brito, CEO of AB InBev said: “The US is our most important market and we recognize the need to continue to focus on driving topline growth across our portfolio. Michel has extensive experience delivering results for our business worldwide, including helping to grow Budweiser globally and launching The High End business strategy, which now represents 5 billion USD of sales. He is the ideal person to lead North America at this time, together with an emerging group of leaders being elevated in the company.”

“We thank João for his 22 years of partnership and significant contributions to our company. He has been an outstanding leader, transforming our business in Latin America North and South. Most recently in the US, he spearheaded foundational changes including winning with our wholesaler partners, expanding our portfolio of craft partners, and accelerating the growth of Michelob Ultra, the fastest-growing beer brand in the US,” he added.

Doukeris joined AB InBev in 1996, climbing through the ranks in various sales positions before being appointed vice president of soft drinks for the Latin American North Zone in 2008. In January 2010 he became president of AB InBev China and then zone president Asia Pacific in January 2013. In January this year he was promoted to the role of chief sales officer.

Commenting on his new role, Doukeris said: “Anheuser-Busch’s culture and rich brewing history are admired around the world and it is humbling to have the opportunity to lead our North American business.”

“I will be focused on working in partnership with our wholesalers and building lasting relationships with our customers and business partners. We have a great team in the US and Canada. I know that together we can grow our business with our portfolio of iconic brands”.

In a number of further changes to the North American division announced by AB InBev on the same day, it was revealed that vice president of sales, Alex Medicis, will step down after 13 years in the company, citing ‘personal reasons’ and a desire to “pursue other interests”.

This year, Medicis had announced the dismissal of almost 400 North American employees in a letter to the AB InBev’s wholesale partners.

He is to be replaced by Brendan Whitworth who is currently vice president of sales and marketing in the Northeast Region.

In addition, the brewing giant also revealed that Bob Tallett will continue as vice president of business and wholesaler development and will now report directly to Michel Doukeris; Agostino De Gasperis has been appointed vice president of human resources, taking over from Sandro Bassili who is moving to a new role within AB InBev’s ZX Ventures; Fued Sadala, currently vice president of logistics and procurement, is to become “fully dedicated to logistics,” his role changing to vice president of logistics to reflect this; and Ingrid De Ryck has been appointed vice president of procurement and sustainability.

As with Doukeris, the new appointments will officially commence on 1 January 2018.

Sales of AB InBev-brewed beer have decreased year-on-year since 2014 and experienced a particularly steep (6.2%) fall in the third quarter of this year. Many media outlets have reported on the struggle of its flagship brands Bud Light and Budweiser, which according to data supplied by Nielsen, have seen sales slide by 5.8% and 6.7% respectively this year. This is compared to losses of 3% and 2.5% last year.

Earlier this year, Goldman Sachs lowered its overall US beer volume forecast to a decline of 0.7% in 2017.

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