By: Chandrashekar Bhat
DIAGEO’S India-born CEO Sir Ivan Menezes will retire later this year, having led the spirit maker’s growth for 10 years.
Menezes, 63, will depart from the London-based company on June 30 and he will be succeeded by Debra Crew who is currently its chief operating officer, Diageo said in a statement on Tuesday (28).
Sir Ivan, a dual US-British citizen, joined the company in 1997 and held several senior positions overseeing its operations in the Americas and Asia Pacific. He became its executive director in 2012 and CEO a year later.
Diageo, whose popular brands include Guinness stout, Johnnie Walker whisky, Smirnoff vodka and Captain Morgan rum, said the FTSE100 company made “great strides” during his tenure.
“Diageo has grown significantly during this period… 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 it had no substantive position eight years ago, it said.
It also credited the CEO with steering Diageo to a “leadership position” in sustainability.
Sir Ivan, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and Kellogg School of Management, said he was “extremely proud” of what the company achieved during his time at the company.
Diageo chairman Javier Ferrán said the CEO had transformed the spirit maker’s global footprint, brand portfolio and strategic focus, “positioning our business as a clear leader in premium drinks.”
“Ivan leaves Diageo extremely well positioned for future growth,” he said.
Sir Ivan spoke of his pride and honour in leading the company 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,” he added.
Under his leadership, Diageo grew into one of the world’s leading premium drinks company, accounting for 10 per cent (£2 billion) of the UK’s total food and drinks exports, according to the company.
It added that Sir Ivan championed women and ethnic diversity in business, with 47 per cent of Diageo’s executive committee being female and 47 per cent from an ethnic background.
Diageo’s share price has almost doubled on the London Stock Exchange since Sir Ivan took over as the CEO, but declined by about a per cent to 3,541.5p after the announcement of his retirement on Tuesday.
The executive, who was born in Pune, Maharashtra, was honoured with knighthood this year for his services to business and equality.
During the pandemic, Diageo supplied alcohol to make anti-bacterial hand sanitiser to boost stocks worldwide, mirroring other distilleries.
Crew, who will take over as the CEO on July 1, has been Diageo’s chief operating officer since October last year.
With the American executive’s appointment to the role, the number of women CEOs running an FTSE 100 company will go up to 10.
She previously worked for PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Nestlé and Mars, Inc.