Sir Ivan Menezes will retire from his position as CEO Diageo on 30 June 2023, with current COO Debra Crew taking up the mantle.
Crew will be appointed to replace Menezes effective 1 July 2023, and will take his vacated position on the company’s board. With Crew’s appointment to CEO, women will make up more than half of Diageo’s Executive Committee.
Commenting on his time at the company, Menezes said: “It has been an enormous honour leading Diageo over the past decade.”
“I am extremely proud of what we have achieved during that time, and I would like to thank my 28,000 talented colleagues around the world for all of their hard work, creativity and passion. I would also like to thank the Board for their encouragement, challenge and support over the years.”
Menezes joined Diageo when the company was formed through Grand Metropolitan’s merger with Guinness in 1997.
During his time at the business, Menezes held a series of senior positions, including: COO; President, Diageo North America; Chairman, Diageo Asia Pacific; and Chairman, Diageo Latin America and Caribbean. He has been an Executive Director since 2012 and was appointed CEO in July 2013.
Menezes also praised the capabilities of his successor.
“I am delighted to be handing over the reins to Debra. In the time that we have worked together, I have been consistently impressed with her passion for growth and for building high performing teams,” the outgoing CEO commented.
“I am confident that under Debra’s leadership, and with our extraordinary portfolio of brands and culture, Diageo will go on to deliver our long-term performance ambition.”
Crew stated that she was thrilled with the appointment, and excited to get started in her new role.
“I am delighted to be appointed Chief Executive Officer of Diageo. Ivan leaves Diageo in a very strong position for future growth and I look forward to working with our teams around the world to capture the opportunities ahead,” Crew commented.
“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.
“It is an incredible privilege to be leading Diageo through the next phase of its development.”
Crew brings a wealth of senior executive experience. Appointed as COO in October 2022, she previously had served as President, Diageo North American and Global Supply, during which time she lead the company’s largest market to 14 per cent organic net sales growth in FY22.
Crew has served on the Diageo board before, appointed as a Non-Executive Director in April 2019, before stepping back from this role upon taking the Diageo North America position in mid-2020.
Before joining Diageo, Crew was President and CEO of Reynolds American, Inc., and spent five years at PepsiCo, where she was President, North American Nutrition. Armed with significant F&B experience, Crew has additionally held positions at Kraft Foods, Nestlé S.A. and Mars, Inc.
Legacy of strong performance
In a press release, Diageo hailed Menezes’ achievements in steering the company.
“Diageo has grown significantly during this period, now selling over 200 brands in more than 180 markets and is today, the number one company by net sales value in Scotch whisky, vodka, gin, rum, Canadian whisky, liqueurs, and also tequila*, a category in which only eight years ago the company had no substantive position.”
The company alone now accounts for 10 per cent (£2bn) of the UK’s total food and beverages exports.
Diageo also highlighted the progress that has been made in environmental responsibility during Menezes tenure.
“Diageo has developed a leadership position in sustainability, becoming one of the top one per cent of companies globally to achieve a “Double A” rating for Water Security and Climate Change from CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project),” a statement read.
According to the same release, Diageo has also become a leader in gender equality under the stewardship of Menezes. Diageo is now ranked number one in the UK, and number two globally, in gender equality and social enterprise data firm Equileap’s 2023 Gender Equality Report. Last month, Diageo was named the top company for female representation at board level in the FTSE Women Leaders Review.
Current board Chairman, Javier Ferrán, believes Diageo will continue this strong commercial, environmental and social performance under the leadership of Crew.
“We are delighted to have appointed a leader of Debra’s calibre to the role,” Ferrán said.
“Debra has been a highly valued member of Diageo’s leadership team in recent years with an impressive track record of delivery both at Diageo and across other global consumer goods companies.
“She has deep consumer industry expertise as well as proven strategic capabilities, strong operational performance and a clear ability to build and lead teams. I have no doubt that Diageo is in the right hands for the next phase of its growth.”
Finally, Ferrán thanked Menezes for his efforts.
“The Board is enormously grateful for Ivan’s contribution over the past decade. Under his stewardship, Diageo has consistently delivered a truly impressive performance to become one of the most respected businesses in the world.
“Ivan has transformed Diageo’s global footprint, brand portfolio and strategic focus, positioning our business as a clear leader in premium drinks. At the same time as delivering consistent shareholder returns, Ivan has nurtured a diverse and talented global workforce and made significant progress on the most material sustainability issues facing our business.
“Ivan leaves Diageo extremely well positioned for future growth, and we thank him again for everything he has helped us to achieve.”
*According to IWSR data released in 2021.
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