AB InBev appoints new CEO to lead brewer in next growth chapter
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ANHEUSER-Busch InBev (AB InBev) yesterday appointed Michel Doukeris, an inside contender, as its new chief executive tasked with the mission of accelerating transformation and leading the world’s largest brewing company in its next chapter of growth.
Carlos Brito, 61, has been leading the group for the past 15 years and has served AB InBev for 32 years.
Doukeris, 14 years younger than Brito, has been with the group since 1996. He is the current president of AB InBev’s North America zone and will assume the leadership at the beginning of July.
Brito has been at the centre of AB InBev’s growth following the acquisitions of rivals like SABMiller in 2016 for more than $100 billion (R1.44 trillion) as well as Anheuser-Busch in 2008 and Grupo Modelo in 2012.
However, the acquisition of SABMiller saw the owner of brands such as Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois piling up debt as it surpassed $100bn by 2019. A year later the group managed to slash it to $82.7bn at the end of 2020 after some assets were disposed of along the way.
AB InBev chairperson Martin Barrington paid tribute to Brito and said they were grateful for his tremendous service and leadership.
“Among his many accomplishments, Brito was the architect who led and built AB InBev into the world’s
leading beer company and a leading global consumer packaged goods company by masterfully integrating the many businesses that comprise AB InBev today.
“He has always been a role model of the company’s successful ownership culture. The board thanks Brito for his dedicated service, passion, caring and commitment to making our company dream big and delivering,” Barrington said.
The departure of Brito coincided with the group releasing its first quarter results to end March, with total volumes up by 13.3 percent while beer volumes increased by 14.9 percent and non-beer was only up by 4 percent.
Its revenue for the quarter increased by 17.2 percent, while half-year revenue was up by 3.7 percent, driven by ongoing premiumisation and revenue management initiatives.
The group’s combined revenues of its global brands Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, increased by 29.5 percent and by 46.4 percent outside their home markets. Its normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) increased by 14.2 percent.
Brito said their business was off to a very strong start in 2021.
“We delivered top-line ahead of pre-pandemic levels, as beer volumes were up by 2.8 percent compared to the first quarter of 2019 with healthy revenue per first half growth. Ebitda increased by 14.2 percent year-overyear, even in the context of ongoing Covid-19 related restrictions,” he said.
AB Inbev’s share price closed 4.34 percent higher at R1 053.58 on the JSE yesterday.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE