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Diageo boss Sir Ivan Menezes to retire, succeeded by Debra Crew

Diageo’s chief executive Sir Ivan Menezes is set to retire and will be succeeded in the role by current chief operating officer Debra Crew.

Menezes, who has spent 10 years leading the drinks giant, will retire from the role of chief executive and the Diageo board from 30 June 2023. Replacing him, Crew will step up to the role as well as join the board from 1 July 2023.

Menezes joined Diageo through the merger of Guinness plc and Grand Metropolitan plc in 1997 and has held a number of senior positions in the business including: chief operating officer; president, Diageo North America; chairman, Diageo Asia Pacific; and chairman, Diageo Latin America and Caribbean.

During his tenure, Menezes has been an executive director of Diageo since July 2012 and has served as chief executive officer since July 2013, overseeing an outstanding period of change, growth and high performance.

Under his reign, Diageo has grown significantly, now selling over 200 brands in more than 180 markets and is today, the number one company by net sales value in Scotch whisky, vodka, gin, rum, Canadian whisky, liqueurs, and also Tequila, a category in which only eight years ago the company had no substantive position. Additionally, in December 2022, Guinness became the number one beer in the on-trade in Great Britain for the first time.

Led by Menezes, Diageo has developed a leadership position in sustainability, becoming one of the top 1% of companies globally to achieve a “Double A” rating for Water Security and Climate Change from CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), as well as a particularly strong stance on inclusion and diversity, with the company ranked number one in the UK, and number two globally, in Equileap’s 2023 Gender Equality Report.

During the past decade, Diageo’s total shareholder returns have strongly outperformed the FTSE100, and the company has continued its progressive policy to increase dividends every year. In January 2023, Menezes was awarded a Knighthood for services to business and to equality in His Majesty The King’s 2023 New Year Honours List.

Following Crew’s appointment as chief executive, women will make up more than 50% of Diageo’s executive committee from 1 July 2023.

Prior to being appointed chief operating officer in October 2022, Crew was president, Diageo North America and global supply, leading Diageo’s largest market to 14% organic net sales growth in fiscal 2022, following on from 20% organic net sales growth in the prior year.

Crew originally joined the Diageo board as a non-executive director in April 2019, before stepping down from the board when appointed president, Diageo North America in July 2020.

Crew is the former president and CEO of Reynolds American, Inc., where she delivered strong performance growth before the company’s acquisition, having previously served as president and chief operating officer, and president and chief commercial officer.

Prior to that, Crew spent five years at PepsiCo, where she served as president, North America nutrition; president, PepsiCo Americas beverages; and president, Western Europe region.

Prior to PepsiCo, Crew held positions with Kraft Foods, Nestlé S.A. and Mars, Inc.

Crew is a graduate of the University of Denver, earned an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and previously served as an officer in the United States Army.

She currently serves on the board of Stanley Black & Decker, Inc., having previously served on the boards of Newell Brands and Mondēlez International.

Speaking about the news, Diageo chairman Javier Ferrán said: “The board is enormously grateful for Ivan’s contribution over the past decade. Under his stewardship, Diageo has consistently delivered a truly impressive performance to become one of the most respected businesses in the world. Ivan has transformed Diageo’s global footprint, brand portfolio and strategic focus, positioning our business as a clear leader in premium drinks. At the same time as delivering consistent shareholder returns, Ivan has nurtured a diverse and talented global workforce and made significant progress on the most material sustainability issues facing our business. Ivan leaves Diageo extremely well positioned for future growth, and we thank him again for everything he has helped us to achieve.”

Ferrán explained: “The board has diligently planned for Ivan’s successor, and we are delighted to have appointed a leader of Debra’s calibre to the role. Debra has been a highly valued member of Diageo’s leadership team in recent years with an impressive track record of delivery both at Diageo and across other global consumer goods companies. She has deep consumer industry expertise as well as proven strategic capabilities, strong operational performance and a clear ability to build and lead teams. I have no doubt that Diageo is in the right hands for the next phase of its growth.”

Menezes said: “It has been an enormous honour leading Diageo over the past decade. I am extremely proud of what we have achieved during that time, and I would like to thank my 28,000 talented colleagues around the world for all of their hard work, creativity and passion. I would also like to thank the board for their encouragement, challenge and support over the years. I am delighted to be handing over the reins to Debra. In the time that we have worked together, I have been consistently impressed with her passion for growth and for building high performing teams. I am confident that under Debra’s leadership, and with our extraordinary portfolio of brands and culture, Diageo will go on to deliver our long-term performance ambition.”

Crew added: “I am delighted to be appointed chief executive officer of Diageo. Ivan leaves Diageo in a very strong position for future growth and I look forward to working with our teams around the world to capture the opportunities ahead. I am focused on continuing Diageo’s extraordinary track record of building world-leading brands and enhancing our reputation as one of the most responsible businesses in what I believe to be the most exciting consumer products category. It is an incredible privilege to be leading Diageo through the next phase of its development.”

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