Anheuser-Busch InBev to Dominate Combined Brewer’s Leadership

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Anheuser-Busch InBev to Dominate Combined Brewer’s Leadership

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV named the senior management team that will lead the company after its $103-billion takeover of SABMiller Plc is completed, a list that includes just one executive from the acquired brewer.

The company will be run by AB InBev chief executive officer Carlos Brito and maintain its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium, with a so-called global functional management office in New York, AB InBev said in a statement. The executive board of eight functional chiefs and nine zone presidents includes SABMiller’s South Africa managing director Mauricio Levya, who will run the Middle Americas region. Mark Bowman, SABMiller’s long-time African chief, will remain for a transitional period of at least six months, the company said.

The deal will give AB InBev its first foothold in Africa, a fast-growing region for beer sales that accounted for 31% of SABMiller’s revenue last year. Given the continent’s importance to the deal, the departure of Bowman is a surprise, said Javier Gonzalez Lastra, an analyst at Berenberg.

“The most prominent name there is Bowman. People probably expected him to stay,” the analyst said by phone. “It’s difficult to speculate on the reasons from the outside. If he has aspirations to become CEO of another company and be more visible, maybe ABI is not the right place.”

SABMiller’s board unanimously recommended ABInBev’s improved takeover offer, paving the way for the biggest acquisition in the history of the beer industry and capping a tumultuous period in which the Budweiser maker bowed to pressure to sweeten its offer. SABMiller’s board faced the choice of backing a bid that chairman Jan du Plessis said was at the “lower end” of what he deemed acceptable, or risk letting the industry-transforming combination fall apart. AB InBev expects to close the deal on 10 October.


The new company, which will control about half of the industry’s global profits, will be divided into nine geographical zones and also retain a UK presence at SABMiller’s office in Woking, England, for a transitional period, it said. Existing SABMiller business hubs in Miami, Hong Kong and Beijing will be shuttered within a few months of the deal’s completion, AB InBev said.

Jabu Mabuza, chairman of South African phone company Telkom SA and a former CEO of the Tsogo Sun hotel and casino business, in which SABMiller once held a stake, will chair the brewer’s new Africa board along with Brito, it also said.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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