Heineken announced today to replace industry veteran Jan Derck van Karnebeek by James Thompson as Chief Commercial Officer of the Dutch brewing group. Karnebeek is leaving Heineken on March 1, 2021 after 27 years including five years as Chief Commercial Officer and almost nine years as an Executive Team member.
According to a press release Karnebeek is leaving “to pursue other interests outside of the company”. However, it is interesting to note that Heineken’s new chairman of the executive board and CEO Dolf van den Brink has already replaced seven of the ten top executives, which shows that the brewer is prepared to make major changes.
Contrary to normal practice, the position of the CCO was not filled internally. Thompson, a British national, has previously held a number of senior international leadership roles. At Avon, he was part of the leadership team charged with driving its purpose, commercial, marketing, digital and cultural transformation, including its new campaign “Watch Me Now” and leading global and local collaboration across over 50 markets. During his time at Diageo PLC he worked globally and on three continents including in North America as Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, in Asia Pacific as Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, and as Managing Director, Global Reserve. Prior to Diageo PLC, James spent 10 years at Unilever PLC in various marketing positions.
“I am delighted by the appointment of James Thompson,” said van den Brink. “He is a very experienced executive with an international perspective on consumer, customer and marketing trends, both in developed and emerging markets. James has an excellent track record and a wealth of experience in premium brand building, consumer centricity, innovation and leading multi-category development. Our Executive Team very much looks forward to working with James to further evolve our commercial strategy. I would also like to thank Jan Derck for his significant contribution to Heineken. It has been a real pleasure working with Jan Derck over the years,” he added.