Lars Jensen, currently COO of Royal Unibrew, is appointed CEO effective 1 September 2020 and will succeed Johannes (Hans) Savonije, who announced in March his request to step down in order to pursue other interests, Denmark's second-largest brewing group reported today in a press statement.
Lars Jensen (46) has been working his entire worklife with Royal Unibrew. After finishing university he started working as a controller in 2006 and has since worked in several functions within the organization. Since 2011 he served as a member of the Executive Board - first as CFO and most recently as COO.
Having worked 17 years for Unilever, four years for The Coca-Cola Company, another four years for Beverage Partners Worldwide, a global joint venture between The Coca-Cola Company and Nestlé and thereafter for spirits company Remy Cointreau and World Lotteries Association, Hans Savonije joined Royal Unibrew in 2008 as Executive Director of Northern Europe. He became later COO and in September 2017 CEO of the company, a function he served for three years. During his time as a CEO Savonije pursued a tight international expansion course. In 2018 Royal Unibrew completed the purchase of the Italian business Terme di Crodo from Gruppo Campari. The same year it also acquired Bev.Con, a marketing company which first introduced energy drinks to the Danish market under brand names like CULT Energy, Shaker and Mokaï(inside.beer, 29.6.2018). In 2018 Royal Unibrew also bought France based craft lemonade business Etablissements Geyer Fréres with the brands Lorina, PureThé and InFreshhh (inside.beer, 10.1.2019).
In March, Dutchman Savonije announced to step down from his post and since then, the company has been busy finding his successor. The brewing and beverage group had closely been looking at internal and external candidates. “The new top manager must be able to achieve growth on the top line and be very focused on profitable growth. And then I do not care whether he comes from within or from outside, said Walther Thygesen, chairman of Royal Unibrew earlier this year.
"On behalf of the Board of Directors, I thank Hans Savonije for his great contribution as COO and later as CEO of Royal Unibrew", says Thygesen, and continues: "The Board of Directors is convinced that Lars Jensen is the right person to head Royal Unibrew and continue the positive development as a strong regional beverage company with strengthened market positions and earnings.”
In its press release, the company also states that “Lars Jensen has extensive experience and deep insight into the company and has been significantly involved in both acquisitions and divestitures and the turn-around that Royal Unibrew has been through.”
Royal Unibrew is Denmark’s second largest brewing and beverage company with a market share of about 25% and is headquartered in Faxe, Denmark. The company was founded in 1989 through the merger of the breweries Faxe, Ceres and Thor under the name Bryggerigruppen. Odense-based Albani merged with the company in 2000. In 2005, the name of the company was changed to Royal Unibrew.
Its brands include Ceres, Faxe, Albani and Royal. Royal Unibrew also has a strong presence in the Baltic region, where it owns Vilniaus Tauras, Kalnapilis, and Lāčplēša Alus.