SABMiller executives cleared out after merger with AB InBev

Posted by News Express | 5 August 2016 | 3,119 times

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Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is clearing out all the top SABMiller executives who helped grow the South African beer group from a dominant domestic operator to the second-largest beer group in the world.

On Thursday, AB InBev announced details of the 17-person top management team that will run the merged entity. Most are South American and/or AB InBev executives.

Analysts said the top team had to be dominated by AB InBev executives to ensure the AB InBev culture took a firm hold. But they were surprised by the exclusion of SABMiller’s top African executive, Mark Bowman. Highly rated, he had been tipped to be the next CEO of SABMiller, and was expected to remain at the merged entity to help secure the only market unknown to AB InBev.

One local analyst, who did not want to be named, said the SABMiller management team could not have expected to remain on in the top team: "This is what happened to management at the beer companies SAB bought over the years." But he said a big difference this time was that AB InBev was acquiring a strong management team with an impressive track record.

Trevor Stirling of Bernstein Research said the profile of the top management team was inevitable given the way AB InBev operated.

“The one surprise was the exclusion of Mark (Bowman). Given the importance of relationships with governments and with Castel, I would have tried to retain him,” he said. Family-owned Groupe Castel, which has extensive beer interests in Africa, has played an important role in SABMiller’s expansion across Africa since the two groups set up a partnership in 2001.

It is unclear whether Bowman, who joined SAB in 1993 and was appointed MD of SABMiller Africa in 2007, chose to leave or was not invited to stay.

Ricardo Tadeu will replace Bowman, taking the title of zone president Africa. Brazilian Tadeu, who is currently zone president Mexico, joined AmBev in 1995.

The only SABMiller executive appointed to the top-17 team is Mauricio Leyva, who is MD of SABMiller SA. Leyva, who joined SABMiller in 2005 in Colombia, has been appointed zone president Middle Americas. Yokesh Maharaj, who joined SABMiller in 2001 and is now sales and distribution director for SAB, will replace Leyva.

Jabu Mabuza, Business Unity SA chairman, has had an association with SABMiller since the 1990s, and has been appointed chairman of the Africa board.

In Thursday’s announcement, AB InBev said Bowman had agreed to remain with the combined group for a transitional period of at least six months following completion, “to assist with the critical tasks of integration, talent retention and stakeholder management.”

John Davidson, general counsel and corporate affairs officer, and Johann Nel, group human resources director, would also stay on for six months.

One SABMiller insider dismissed as nonsense rumours that Bowman was considering an appointment at Heineken.

The announcement made no reference to SABMiller CEO Alan Clark; finance director Domenic de Lorenzo; MD SABMiller Europe Sue Clark; president SABMiller Latin America Karl Lippert; or MD SABMiller Asia Pacific Ari Mervis. They are expected to leave as soon as the deal is completed in October.

“They’ll be very well paid out for their share options, and they’ll be faced with an entirely different culture, so there’s no reason for them to want to stay on,” the analyst said.

•Source: Business Day South Africa. Photo shows SABMiller GM Lukas Van Deventer.

Source: News Express

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