Carlsberg is looking for a new CEO as the current CEO, Cees ’t Hart, is going to step down. The Danish brewing group informed today that the 64-year-old Dutchman informed the Supervisory Board about his intention to retire and leave the company by September 30 at the latest. A search for his successor is ongoing, and further announcement will be made in due course, Carlsberg said.
Being CEO of Dutch dairy firm Royal FrieslandCampina for seven years, ‘t Hart joined Carlsberg in June 2015. He replaced former President and CEO, Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen, who retired after seven years.
“Since Cees took the helm at Carlsberg, the company has been significantly strengthened, as demonstrated by its strong financial, strategic, organizational and societal health,” Carlsberg said in a press statement. “In 2022, Carlsberg delivered all-time high revenue and operating profit of DKK 70.3bn (USD 10.0bn) and 11.5bn (USD 1.6bn) vrespectively. Since 2015, total cash returns to shareholders in the form of dividends and share buy-backs have increased fivefold – reaching DKK 7.8bn in 2022,” the statement goes on.
However, in a very difficult economic environment, ‘t Hart was not able to completely fulfill all of the tasks he had set himself during his eight years at the head of the company.
“Hopefully in three to five years, […] whether it’s Russia, India, China or Denmark -- our position is stronger, our margins are improved,” ‘t Hart told investors in 2018. “And hopefully we will have an extension of the number of countries we operate in via acquisitions.” (inside.beer, 6.9.2018)
The rather modest success in this area was also partly due to the corona pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the associated withdrawal from Russia, which had been a strategic market for Carlsberg in the past.
"The SAIL’22 strategy, launched by him in 2016, has successfully strengthened the Group’s portfolio of brands and geographies, while maintaining a sharp focus on cost and cash as part of the well-established Funding the Journey culture.," according to Carlsberg. "As one of the first companies in the world to introduce science-based climate targets, aligned with the 1.5°C target in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Carlsberg has achieved relevant progress on its sustainability targets, including a 57% reduction in carbon emissions."
Chair of the Supervisory Board Henrik Poulsen: “Cees ’t Hart has delivered remarkable results during his time at Carlsberg. Cees has been a catalyst for performance, achieving excellent results, and a true leader, ensuring the successful strategic transformation of the Carlsberg Group. Under his leadership, the Group has navigated significant challenges, including the difficult COVID-19 years, the war in Ukraine and the ongoing sale of the Russian business.
“Cees leaves behind a purpose-led and performance-driven company with solid strategic, financial, organisational and societal health. On behalf of the Supervisory Board, I thank Cees for his extraordinary contribution to Carlsberg and wish him the very best for the future.”
CEO Cees ‘Hart: “It has been a privilege leading Carlsberg the past eight years. I'm immensely proud of the organisation and the results we as a team have achieved. The Executive Committee and the Extended Leadership Team are strong, resilient and well aligned on the strategic plans and ambitions for SAIL’27. I'm confident the successful journey of Carlsberg will continue well into the future.
“Staying on board for another half a year will allow me and the team to continue delivering on our challenging plans for 2023 and accomplishing the sale of the Russian business before the summer. Thereafter, I'll focus on some interesting non-executive roles.
“I wish already now to take the opportunity to thank all employees, customers, partners and stakeholders for the collaboration, trust and joint successes. I wish Carlsberg and all its great people the very best for the future.”