Simon Cox, who for the last seven years has led Molson Coors’ European business unit, most recently as president and CEO, will retire Dec. 31 after 16 years with the company, Molson Coors said today.
Sergey Yeskov, who today serves as managing director of the company’s Central and Eastern Europe region, will take over effective Jan. 1.
Before he was tapped to lead the company’s Central and Eastern Europe operations in late 2019, Yeskov was president and CEO of Molson Coors International, where he worked on the company’s businesses in India, Africa, Latin America, Japan and beyond. The Ukraine native also served as chief sales and commercial officer at Molson Coors Canada and led the company to sustained share and profit growth leading its business in Croatia and Bosnia.
“Sergey’s well-rounded experience across geographies and business functions, along with his people-first approach, will be an asset to our Europe team and for our entire global business,” said Molson Coors President and CEO Gavin Hattersley, at the company’s head office in the U.K. today. “Under Sergey’s leadership, Molson Coors will continue to build strength for our people and for our business throughout the Europe business unit.”
Yeskov’s successor has not yet been named.
Cox will retire after spending more than three decades in the beer industry. A master brewer by training, Cox led both supply chain and on-trade sales teams and the strategy function in the U.K. before he was elevated to lead Molson Coors Europe in 2014. In 2019, he was named president and CEO of the Molson Coors European business unit, which also includes the company’s business in Middle Eastern, African, Asian and Pacific countries.
He played a key role in Molson Coors’ acquisitions of several companies and brands, including Cobra, a beer that was originally brewed in Bangalore, India and imported and distributed to restaurants in the UK. In 2009, Cobra’s founder Lord Karan Bilimoria teamed up with Molson Coors to rescue the company from collapse and in 2011 Molson Coors entered the beer market in India, a business that was sold again earlier this year due to prohibitive legislation concerning alcohol in some Indian states. (inside.beer, 25.2.2021)
Other investments under the lead of Cox included Sharp’s Brewery, a British brewery founded in 1994 in St Minver Lowlands, Rock, Cornwall in 2011 and Aspall Cyder, a manufacturer of cider and other apple derived products in Aspall, Suffolk, England that was bought by Molson Coors in 2018. (inside.beer, 15.1.2018)
More recently, Cox has led a shift in Europe toward premiumization, introducing brands such as Madrí Excepcional, Praha, Wai and Three Fold. (inside.beer, 8.6.2021)
He's also presided over a rebound of Molson Coors’ European business, which reported last week that net sales revenue in the third quarter grew 14.7% in constant currency, while net sales per hectoliter expanded 11% on a brand volume basis. Molson Coors said it plans to step up its marketing investment in the continent in the fourth quarter.
“Simon has brought our Europe business to where it is today, and all of us owe him a debt of gratitude for what he has helped us deliver and who he has helped us become,” Hattersley said. “We will miss his conviction in our values and his unwavering commitment to prioritizing our people, but I couldn’t be happier that he will be able to relax, unwind and travel with his wife and kids.”