Diageo’s CEO Sir Ivan Menezes has passed away following a brief illness and with his family at his side. Menezes was due to retire on June 30, he was 63.

On 5 June Diageo reported that Menezes was in hospital receiving treatment for medical conditions including a stomach ulcer and that his recovery had suffered a significant setback due to complications which followed emergency surgery on the ulcer.

Diageo’s Chairman Javier Ferrán, said: “This is an incredibly sad day. Ivan was undoubtedly one of the finest leaders of his generation.

“Ivan was there at the creation of Diageo and over 25 years, shaped Diageo to become one of the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer companies. I saw first-hand his steadfast commitment to our people and to creating a culture that enabled everyone to thrive.

“He invested his time and energy in people at every level of the company and saw potential that others may have overlooked. This is one of many reasons why he was beloved by our employees, past and present.”

Menezes was born in Pune, India in 1959 and held UK and US citizenship as well as Overseas Citizenship for India.

He joined Diageo when the company was created in 1997 and held many senior positions in his career with the company. He became Global Marketing Director, UDV, in 1998 and was responsible for developing the iconic, ‘Keep Walking’ campaign for Johnnie Walker.

As well as being a well-respected CEO, Menezes was also an inspirational champion for both women and ethnic minorities in business.

In 2008 there were no women on Diageo’s Executive Committee, today over half are women, including his successor as CEO, the CFO and the Presidents of Diageo’s largest Markets – North America, Europe and India, and almost half of the Executive Committee are ethnically diverse. In February 2023, Diageo was named the top company for female representation at board level in the FTSE Women Leaders Review.

Ferrán added: “Ivan’s energy and his commitment to diversity created a truly inclusive business and enabled Diageo to have a positive impact on the communities we serve. His passion for our brands was second-to-none and in his heart, he remained the Johnnie Walker marketer from his early days. The desire to build the world’s best brands never left him.

“We are truly privileged to have had the opportunity to work alongside such a thoughtful and passionate colleague and friend – a true gentleman. He has built an extraordinary legacy.

“Ivan leaves behind many friends and a beloved family, and our thoughts are particularly with his wife, Shibani and his two children, Nikhil and Rohini. On behalf of the Board, Executive Committee and all our employees, we extend our deepest sympathies to them.”

The Shout and everyone on the Food and Beverage Media team extend their condolences to Menezes’ family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *