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Drinks

Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes Passes Away Aged 63

By Reuters
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Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes Passes Away Aged 63

Spirits giant Diageo has announced that its long-time boss Ivan Menezes has passed away following a brief illness.

The announcement comes after the world's biggest spirits company on Monday said CEO-designate Debra Crew would assume the top role on an interim basis immediately as Menezes was under medical treatment.

British-American national Menezes, 63, who was born in the Indian city of Pune, joined Diageo after its formation through the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan in 1997.

Menezes, who was set to retire at the end of this month, was in the hospital receiving treatment for conditions including a stomach ulcer, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Sales at Diageo, the maker of Johnnie Walker whisky, Tanqueray gin and Don Julio tequila, surged under Menezes' leadership, and he steered the company through multiple brand acquisitions as well as a major sustainability overhaul.

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Read More: Diageo CEO-Designate Debra Crew Takes Charge At Drinks Giant

Ivan Menezes

Menezes was one of Britain’s longest serving and most respected FTSE chief executives.

He served as the strategy director for Guinness plc, and following the formation of Diageo, he was appointed group integration director tasked with the integration of this ‘merger of equals’.

Javier Ferrán, chairman of Diageo plc, commented, “This is an incredibly sad day. Ivan was undoubtedly one of the finest leaders of his generation.

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"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."

Analyst Viewpoint

Commenting on his passing, analyst Russ Mould of AJ Bell said, “Sir Ivan Menezes will be remembered for transforming Diageo’s fortunes and making it the powerhouse it is today in the spirit sector. He was greatly admired by the business community and by investors.

“In his 10 years as chief executive, he focused on high-end brands, recognising that consumer tastes were evolving and that people were prepared to pay a premium price for a quality product.

“Six years ago, he struck a deal to pay $1 billion for tequila brand Casamigos, which at the time raised eyebrows due to the price but has since proved to be a resounding success for the business. It showed that Diageo was able to move with the times, while also keeping its legacy brands including Guinness relevant in the modern world."

News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM – your source for the latest drinks news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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