New CEO for Anheuser-Busch

By 
Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

Anheuser Busch

CHICAGO -- Anheuser-Busch CEO Joao Castro Neves has stepped down from his role to pursue other opportunities. Brussels-based Anheuser-Busch InBev appointed Michel Doukeris as zone president North America and CEO of Anheuser-Busch on Jan. 1. Doukeris previously served as chief sales officer of AB InBev. He succeeds Neves, who will support Doukeris during a transitional period, AB InBev said.

“The U.S. is our most important market, and we recognize the need to continue to focus on driving top-line growth across our portfolio,” said Carlos Brito, CEO of AB InBev. “Michel has extensive experience delivering results for our business worldwide, including helping to grow Budweiser globally and launching The High End business strategy, which now represents $5 billion of sales. He is the ideal person to lead North America at this time, together with an emerging group of leaders being elevated in the company.”

Doukeris said he will focus on working in partnership with A-B wholesalers to build “lasting relationships with our customers and business partners. We have a great team in the U.S. and Canada. I know that together we can grow our business with our portfolio of iconic brands.”

Over the course of his 20-year tenure at AB InBev, Doukeris developed AB InBev’s premium portfolio, launched new-product portfolios and entered new markets. As chief sales officer, he led sales strategy globally, including providing strategic insight into the company’s long-term growth plans.

Here are five other leadership changes in the beverage industry …

1. United States Beverage

US Beverage

U.S. Beverage, an independent beer importer based in Stamford, Conn., has promoted Justin Fisch to the position of president. Having joined the company in 2002, Fisch most recently served as vice president and general manager, acting as the primary contact for all brewery suppliers and overseeing sales and marketing activities across the company. In his new role as president, Fisch will manage all operational responsibilities, including sales, marketing, finance and administration for the company, which was founded by his father, CEO and former president Joseph Fisch, 20 years ago.

2. MillerCoors

blue moon Belgian white ale

The creator of MillerCoors’ Blue Moon Belgian White beer will retire from the parent company this week, according to a note to distributors and employees from the beer company. Keith Villa developed Blue Moon, the original craft beer offered by a major brewer, in 1995 when he worked for Coors Brewing Co. in Golden, Colo., according to a Forbes report. Upon leaving MillerCoors, Villa plans to launch “a couple of new breweries dedicated to the ultra-high end and beers brewed with exploratory, cutting-edge ingredients,” he told Forbes.

3. Soylent

Soylent

Soylent founder and CEO Rob Rhinehart has left the lead position of the company and named Bryan Crowley as its new chief executive officer. Crowley joined Soylent, the makers of a ready-to-drink meal in a bottle, as president in May 2017. Rhinehart will remain with the company as executive chairman.

4. Disruptive Brands

clearlake

Bill Moses, a beverage industry veteran and co-founder, former chairman and CEO of KeVita Probiotic Drinks, has partnered with Clearlake Capital Group LP to launch Disruptive Brands, a new platform focused on investing in and supporting emerging better-for-you food and beverage brands. Moses will serve as CEO and co-chairman of the new company. The Disruptive Brands platform seeks to partner with world-class entrepreneurs and management teams to help accelerate growth and increase strategic value. Santa Monica, Calif.-based Clearlake Capital Group LP is a private investment firm that seeks to partner with world-class management teams by providing patient, long-term capital to businesses that can benefit from Clearlake’s operational improvement approach.

5. Coca-Cola Co.

Coca-Cola

Irial Finan, a 36-year veteran of the Coca-Cola system, will retire March 31 from his post as executive vice president and president of Coca-Cola Co.’s Bottling Investments Group, or BIG. Calin Dragan, who currently is regional director for BIG’s ASEAN (Southeast Asia) and Middle East bottlers, will be promoted to lead BIG. Dragan, who began his new role on Jan. 1, will oversee BIG operations globally. BIG, which will continue to play a significant role in contributing to Coca-Cola’s overall growth, is now largely concentrated in the Asia Pacific region. The company continues to work toward refranchising Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, which is part of BIG.