AB InBev replaces North America chief to stem gross sales slide

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – The world’s greatest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR), is changing its North American chief to stem a years-long gross sales decline in its largest market.

The brand of Anheuser-Busch InBev is pictured exterior the brewer’s headquarters in Leuven, Belgium February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Picture

The maker of Budweiser and Bud Mild mentioned on Monday that Joao Castro Neves can be succeeded on Jan. 1 by one other Brazilian firm veteran, Michel Doukeris, presently chief gross sales officer of the worldwide enterprise.

Bud Mild stays the one largest beer model in america, nevertheless it and its mainstream friends have been in regular decline, as U.S. drinkers embrace wine and spirits. Once they drink beer, they have a tendency to decide on extra uncommon craft beers made by smaller producers.

AB InBev has bought much less beer in North America in annually since 2014, with a steep 6.2 % drop within the third quarter of this 12 months.

“Individuals are buying and selling up,” mentioned Liberum analyst Nico von Stackelberg. “I don’t suppose anybody is admittedly hoping for dramatic quantity turnarounds. Simply stopping the bleeding is the hope.”

Doukeris, who joined the corporate in 1996, has run its Chinese language and Asia Pacific operations, serving to to increase Budweiser globally, and launched its “Excessive Finish” enterprise technique targeted on rising imported and craft beers. The corporate has acquired almost a dozen craft beers lately.

“The U.S. is our most essential market and we acknowledge the necessity to proceed to concentrate on driving topline development throughout our portfolio,” mentioned AB InBev Chief Government Carlos Brito.

“(Doukeris) is the best particular person to steer North America presently, along with an rising group of leaders being elevated within the firm”.

The corporate introduced 5 different North American appointments on Monday, together with the promotion of Brendan Whitworth, a veteran of PepsiCo and the U.S. Central Intelligence Company, to the position of vice chairman of gross sales, changing Alex Medicis, who’s leaving.

Gross sales quantity for the U.S. beer trade was down 1.eight % for the primary 9 months of the 12 months and has been down for the previous decade, in line with Wells Fargo analysts. Per capita beer consumption is down 20 % prior to now 35 years.

AB InBev shares had been up zero.6 % at 100.95 euros at 1627 GMT.

AB InBev’s high-end technique was launched in China and expanded to 22 international locations whereas Doukeris ran the gross sales division, garnering the enterprise greater than $5 billion in world gross sales. However in September, the unit introduced a reorganization that included the lack of about 2 % of its workforce or round 300 jobs.

Craft beer is off its double-digit development charges, however ought to nonetheless develop at about 6 % this 12 months, in contrast with an total beer trade that may very well be down as a lot as 1.5 %, in line with analysts at Susquehanna. They estimate craft beer might attain 12 % of the trade this 12 months.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; extra reporting by Martinne Geller; modifying by Tom Pfeiffer

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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