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Jack Keenan pays tribute to Sir Ivan Menezes

Having spotted Sir Ivan Menezes’ talents early on, former executive director at Diageo and db consultant Jack Keenan pays tribute to the late CEO who died this week aged 63.

Keenan, who, on reaching his 65th birthday, retired from his full-time post as executive director at Diageo in 2001, writes:

Photo credit: Tim Bishop/Diageo

Ivan Menezes first came to my attention when he was recommended to me by Dr. Anna Mann (who coincidentally also recently engineered my appointment at International Distillers and Vintners). Anna told me that Ivan was the best marketing candidate she had ever seen. 

Unfortunately, top management had no appetite for 2 guys from outside the drinks industry, so Ivan was not hired. Nonetheless Ivan and I stayed in touch and one day at lunch Ivan told me that he was now the Director of Strategy for Guiness. What serendipity! Unbeknownst to Ivan I was in the process of merging IDV and United Distillers the parent company of Guiness so finally he would be part of my team. Ivan’s first challenge was to restructure the combined companies. Together with Phil Radcliff the two toured the world and to produce a very successful merger demonstrating what an effective and talented manager he was. Following on, Ivan became one of the most valuable marketing directors in the organization which eventually became known as Diageo.

Ivan was an excellent judge and manager of people, had incisive intellectual skills….the results of Diageo speak for themselves. All credit to Ivan for Warren Buffet’s investment in the company. Ivan was a superior businessman, an honourable person and loyal friend. My life was enriched for having known him.

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