The “king” of AB InBev’s beer industry is about to replace a veteran CEO

Belgian beer company Anheuser-Busch InBev has activated a program to replace CEO Carlos Brito – a “god” to help this company become the largest beer company in the world in 16 years leading.

The above personnel fluctuations occurred in the context of AB InBev struggling with a debt burden of 79 billion pounds after acquiring rival SABMiller.  Photo: AFP
The above personnel fluctuations occurred in the context of AB InBev struggling with a debt burden of £ 79 billion after acquiring rival SABMiller. Photo: AFP

The Belgian brewery is looking for outside candidates to replace CEO Carlos Brito, three sources familiar with the Financial Times said. This is a remarkable move for a business that is always proud of its own culture like Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev).

It is known that AB InBev is cooperating with Spencer Stuart Recruitment Company to find candidates for the CEO position. According to the plan, CEO Brito will resign in 2021, but it is unclear when.

The reason why AB InBev must seek outside resources for the CEO position is because the group has only one candidate, Michel Doukeris – head of business in North America. Chief Strategy Officer David Almeida and Marketing Director Pedro Earp were previously seen as potential candidates, but were eventually put aside.

CEO Brito can extend his tenure if the Belgian beer company has not found a suitable candidate. After leaving the CEO position, Mr. Brito is expected to join AB InBev’s Board of Directors.

AB InBev declined to comment.

Over the past 18 months, the Belgian brewery has replaced both the CFO and the chairman. The above personnel fluctuations come as AB InBev is struggling with a debt burden of 79 billion pounds after acquiring rival SABMiller from the UK in 2015.

AB InBev CFO Felipe Dutra resigned in February this year and was replaced by Fernando Tennenbaum, CFO of the AB InBev branch in Brazil. Before that, Mr. Olivier Goudet gave the “chair” of the chairman to Mr. Marty Barrington, former CEO of Altria Tobacco Group.

Shares AB InBev is 60% lower than the record set in 2015 – before the time of acquiring SABMiller, due to concerns about the $ 87.4 billion debt burden that the Belgian brewery is facing. 4.9 times profit, as of the end of June 2020.

Last April, AB InBev cut its dividend in half, after the latest cut in 2018. The company is also considering a number of transfer deals to ease debt pressure, including a plan to sell and spend. branch in Australia for Asahi for $ 11 billion this year.

The leaving Brito CEO will put an end to the brilliant era of the beer industry after a similar incident that Jean-François van Boxmeer left the “chair” of Heineken CEO recently. Like Brito, van Boxmeer is considered the “god” that created the global beer company Heineken in the period when the beer industry consolidates its position.

Mr. Brito contributed greatly to the expansion of the Belgian beer company into the US – Latin market, making AB InBev the world’s largest beer company after the acquisition of SABMiller.

The immediate challenge for CEO Brito’s successor is to have the support of two major groups of shareholders, including: the family group that once controlled Interbrew – a subsidiary of AB InBev and the group of founding shareholders of 3G Capital. in Brazil. In addition, AB InBev is also dominated by other large groups of shareholders from the Altria Tobacco Group and the Santo Domingo family in Colombia.

Brito’s career has been associated with the beer industry since 1989 when she joined Brazilian brewery Brahma. In 2004, Brito became the CEO of Brahma when the company became a regional brewery.

In the same year, Brahma merged with the Belgian Beer Company Interbrew to build the InBev brand. Four years after the merger, InBev acquired Anheuser-Busch of the US to become the “giant” of the world beer industry.

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