AB InBev’s chairman will step down

Olivier Goudet, the chairman of the world’s largest brewery, AB InBev, is stepping down from the role amid concerns that his growing ties with another beverage giant will create a conflict of interest.

Budweiser

(Photo: AB Inbev)

A replacement for Goudet, who is managing director of JAB Holdings, will be announced at the next shareholder meeting on 24 April, it has been announced.

The chairman confirmed he would step down to devote more time to his “growing responsibilities as managing partner and CEO of JAB”.

JAB, which owns Krispy Kreme and Pret a Manger, acquired coffee and soft drinks maker Keurig Dr Pepper in 2018, a move than sources close to the matter claim raised concerns with AB InBev’s board members that its interests are wedded closely to theirs, reports the Financial Times.

“We are extremely grateful for Mr. Goudet’s many contributions and commitment to our company over the eight years as member of the board and four years as chairperson,” AB InBev said in an emailed statement.

“The board’s succession plan has been developed since last year and we have been working with Mr. Goudet on a smooth transition.”

An increasing number of breweries are investing in alternative products such as soft drinks and non-alcoholic beer, to capitalise on the global decline in alcohol consumption and slowdown in mass-produced lager sales. AB InBev itself acquired US-based craft spirits company Cutwater Spirits in February.

In the US, Heineken-owned brewery Lagunitas has developed a non-alcoholic, IPA ‘inspired’ water, following the launch of a similar product by Japanese drinks giant Suntory in May 2018.

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