Diageo boss Sir Ivan Menezes to stand down in June after a decade in charge of FTSE 100 Guinness owner
- Sir Ivan Menezes’s successor is Diageo chief operating officer Debra Crew
- Diageo owns Captain Morgan rum, Smirnoff vodka, Bailey’s Gin, and Guinness
- The London-based group now sells over 200 brands across at least 180 markets
Sir Ivan Menezes will retire from Diageo during the summer after a decade running the drinks giant.
Indian-born Menezes initially joined the company when it was formed from a merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan in 1997, rising through the ranks to eventually become its chief executive 16 years later.
He succeeded another long-serving Diageo boss, Paul Walsh, who grew the Johnnie Walker owner’s market capitalisation to £50billion as it focused on core drinks brands and expanded sales into emerging markets.
Standing down: Indian-born Sir Ivan Menezes (pictured) initially joined Diageo when it was formed from a merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan in 1997
Since Walsh left, the firm’s value has grown by around another £30billion on the back of multiple acquisitions, especially of premium brands, and growth in emerging economies like Greater China and India.
The London-based group now sells over 200 brands across at least 180 countries, ranging from Captain Morgan rum to Smirnoff vodka and Guinness, the UK’s best-sold beer in pubs.
It is also the world’s biggest seller of Scotch and Canadian whisky, tequila, vodka, gin, rum and liqueurs, and is responsible for approximately 10 per cent, or £2billion, of the UK’s annual food and drink exports.
Menezes, who was was awarded a knighthood in King Charles’ first New Year’s Honours list, said it was ‘an enormous honour’ to run Diageo for the last 10 years and was ‘extremely proud of what we have achieved during that time’.
Diageo shares have climbed by 88 per cent throughout his tenure, while its shareholder returns have significantly outperformed the wider FTSE 100 Index.
Menezes will stand down from the company’s board on 30 June to be succeeded by current chief operating officer Debra Crew, who will be the first female CEO of Diageo.
‘An internal appointment theoretically lowers the chances of a radical shift in strategy,’ said Russ Mould, AJ Bell’s investment director.
‘The market reaction…shows that investors aren’t worried about big changes to the business. Instead, this looks like as smooth a transition as an athlete passing the baton in a sprint relay.’
A former US Army officer, Crew was previously the president of cigarette maker Reynolds American during its full takeover by British American Tobacco.
Prior to that, she spent periods working for Kraft Foods, Mars Incorporated, ice cream business Dreyer’s – owned by Nestlé – and PepsiCo, where she was head of its Western European office.
Her appointment as Diageo’s boss means women will represent more than 50 per cent of all the company’s board.
Last month, the firm was named the best-ranked for female board representation for the third successive year in the FTSE Women Leaders Review.
Crew told investors: ‘I am focused on continuing Diageo’s extraordinary track record of building world-leading brands and enhancing our reputation as one of the most responsible businesses in what I believe to be the most exciting consumer products category.’
In its latest half-year results, Diageo revealed net sales jumped by 18.4 per cent to £9.4billion, beating analyst forecasts, thanks to stronger demand for premium spirits, and price hikes and productivity savings offsetting cost inflation.
Diageo shares were 0.8 per cent lower at 3,554.5p on Tuesday morning.
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