DANISH brewing giant Carlsberg yesterday appointed a new chief executive, but warned that ongoing geopolitical problems in Russia and Ukraine would hit revenues again this year.
Cees ‘t Hart, the Dutch CEO of dairy firm FrieslandCampina, will take the reins at Carlsberg in June. He will replace incumbent Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen, who turns 60 this year and has decided to step down take up a number of non-executive roles.
“It’s a decision we both agreed upon is the right thing for Carlsberg, and also right for Jorgen to move on in his non-executive career,” chairman Flemming Besenbacher said yesterday.
‘T Hart has led FrieslandCampina, one of the world’s leading dairy firms, for six years and has negotiated the group through a big merger and considerable growth in Asia, a core development target for Carlsberg. ‘T Hart previously worked for 25 years at Unilever.
The Danish brewer also reported a 22 per cent decline in operating profit for the fourth quarter, hamstrung by a 32 per cent fall in sales in Eastern Europe mostly as a result of the turmoil in Ukraine and Russia.
Carlsberg forecast underlying operating profit to increase by less than 10 per cent in the coming year, with the Eastern European operations again serving as a lag on revenues.
“While we expect our Western Europe and Asia regions to continue their positive development, the expected GDP decline and currency devaluation in Russia and Ukraine will put significant pressure on the group’s overall performance,” the company said.