Carlos Brito to step down as AB InBev CEO in July. Picture: BLOOMBERG/DARIO PIGNATELLI
Carlos Brito to step down as AB InBev CEO in July. Picture: BLOOMBERG/DARIO PIGNATELLI

Brussels — Carlos Brito will end 15 years of his tenure as CEO of AB InBev in July, to be replaced by its North American division head as the world’s largest brewer seeks to drive beer sales in its global markets.

The company said on Thursday its board has unanimously elected Michel Doukeris, the former head of sales, to succeed fellow Brazilian Brito, the architect of AB InBev’s global expansion, from July 1.

AB InBev chair Martin Barrington said that Doukeris is ideally suited for the company’s next phase with his expertise in brands, consumers and innovation. The next phase could be focused on boosting sales of more than 500 brands rather than on acquisitions in an already concentrated brewing market.

The brewer of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois lagers separately reported first-quarter earnings ahead of expectations, even with lockdowns closing hospitality in much of Europe and a one-month alcohol sales ban in SA.

Sales of beer surged 64% in Asia-Pacific, a year on from the initial coronavirus lockdown in China, a major AB InBev market.

They were also up by more than 10% in Latin America, outperforming industry growth in two of its top markets, Brazil and Mexico. In Europe, sales of its own beers were flat.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda), or core profit rose 14.2% on a like-for-like basis and removing the impact of currency translation to $4.27bn, more than the 6.6% expansion average forecast in a company-compiled poll.

This figure should increase by 8%-12% in 2021, with revenue growth greater than that, based on higher beer sales, price hikes and a shift in consumer taste to premium brands, AB InBev said.



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