In a significant development, Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Carlos Brito is set to step down from the company in July; he will be replaced by the head of the company’s North America division. The development comes at a time when AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, is aiming to drive up beer sales in its global markets.
On Thursday, AB InBev’s board said, it had 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.
In a statement AB InBev Chairman’s Martin Barrington said, Doukeris was ideally suited for the company’s next phase given his expertise in brands, consumers and innovation. The next phase of the company will see it increase its focus on boosting sales of over 500 brands rather than on acquisitions.
AB InBev has separately reported its first quarter earnings ahead of expectations, midst a series of lockdowns which saw much of the hospitality industry in Europe being closed along with a one-month alcohol sales ban in South Africa.
A year from the coronavirus onset in China, AB InBev’s sales of beer in the Asia-Pacific region, one of its key markets, surged by 64%. Sales of beer was also up by more than 10% in Latin America, outperforming industry growth in two of its top markets, Mexico and Brazil. In Europe however, its beer sales was flat.
Its earning before EBIDTA jumped by 14.2% on a like-for-like basis and removing the impact of currency translation to $4.27 billion. This figure is likely to increase between 8% and 12% in 2021, since its revenue growth is greater than that, based on higher beer sales, price hikes and a shift in consumer taste to premium brands, said AB InBev.