SABMiller's Mackay Dies Following Illness
Manser assumes chairman position; board will name long-term successor soon
LONDON -- SABMiller plc announced that chairman Graham Mackay died peacefully on Dec. 18, with his family at his side. He had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
The board of directors has appointed acting chairman John Manser as chairman, effective immediately; it also has appointed Guy Elliott as senior independent director in succession to Manser.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Graham's wife and family," Manser said on behalf of the board of SABMiller. "Graham was one of the most inspirational and successful leaders in international business by any measure. Everyone in the SABMiller family has been blessed by his vision, his loyalty, and his friendship during his 35 years with the group. He will be deeply missed. The board has every confidence that under Alan Clark's leadership, we will continue to build on Graham's legacy, and fulfil his vision to make SABMiller the most admired company in the global beer industry."
Mackay was appointed Group Managing Director in 1997 and Chief Executive of South African Breweries plc upon its listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1999. In July 2012 he was appointed Executive Chairman of SABMiller plc, becoming non-executive Chairman in April 2013.
Graham led SABMiller’s rapid global expansion and was instrumental in several path-breaking initiatives including the acquisition of Miller Brewing Co. in the United States in 2002, and subsequent renaming of the business as SABMiller; the acquisition of Bavaria in Latin America in 2005; formation of the MillerCoors joint venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors in the United States in 2008; and the acquisition of Foster’s in Australia in 2011.
Under his leadership, SABMiller made rapid inroads across Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. The business also successfully integrated beer and soft drinks operations in many parts of the world through bottling contracts with The Coca Cola Co. as well as its own proprietary brands.
The board will make a further announcement in due course about the appointment of a chairman to succeed Manser for the longer term, but it is expected that to facilitate succession planning and to allow an appropriate period of familiarization and handover, Manser will defer his previously expected retirement date for approximately one year to July 2015.
SABMiller announced Mackay's condition and surgery in April. At that time, the board accelerated the planned promotion of chief operating officer Alan Clark to chief executive officer. He assumed the post immediately.
London-based SABMiller is one of the world's leading brewers, with more than 200 beer brands and approximately 70,000 employees in more than 75 countries. The group's portfolio includes global brands such as Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Miller Genuine Draft and Grolsch; as well as leading local brands such as Aguila (Colombia), Castle (South Africa), Miller Lite (United States), Snow (China), Victoria Bitter (Australia) and Tyskie (Poland). SABMiller also has growing soft drinks businesses and is one of the world's largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products.