Longstanding boss Carlos Brito is set to leave AB InBev after 16 years at helm of the world’s largest brewing group, according to a report today by the Financial Times. The company reportedly hired recruitment firm Spencer Stuart to find a successor. According to people close to the matter, Brito is involved in the recruitment process as he wants to step down next year as CEO to join the company’s board.
In February, AB InBev already replaced CFO Felipe Dutra by Fernando Tennenbaum, a 15-year veteran of the company who served before as vice president of finance for the company’s South Americn business. The vacant role as chief strategy and technology officer, which was also executed by Felipe Dutra, was filled by David Almeida who joined AB InBev 22 years ago and served until then as chief people and strategy officer (inside.beer, 5.2.2020).
According to the report AB InBev also considered an internal candidate for the role as new CEO, but identified only Michel Doukeris, who heads the North America-based Anheuser-Busch business. Other possible candidates such as chief strategy officer David Almeida and chief marketing officer Pedro Earp are not being considered.
Carlos Brito is 60 years old and became CEO of of AB InBev’s predecessor company InBev in 2005. After the takeover of U.S. brewing group Anheuser-Busch in 2008, he took the CEO position of the enlarged group. One of his most spectacular decisions was the takeover of rival SABMiller in 2016 (inside.beer, 28.9.2016), which, in addition to further growth, also resulted in horrific debt for the group. In order to reduce the debt , the company decided last July to sell its Australian subsidiary Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) to Asahi Group Holdings (inside.beer, 19.7.2019) and to list the Asian business at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in September (inside.beer, 29.9.2019).
With the departure of Carlos Brito, 60, from AB InBev and the departure of Jean-François van Boxmeer, 58, in July who was heading Heineken for 15 years, an era in the brewing industry ends that was characterized by a strong concentration process. The successors of the two company leaders must now ensure the stabilization of the business and realignment, probably more in the direction of non-alcoholic and alternative drinks.