Cheers to that! Diageo chief quits after decade at the top, as firm appoints FTSE 100’s tenth woman CEO
Spirit maker Diageo has announced its chief executive Sir Ivan Menezes is to retire following ten years leading the firm.
The London-listed drinks giant will step aside from the firm’s board in June of this year and be replaced by Debra Crew, who is currently its chief operating officer.
Meneze joined the firm from the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan in 1997, as he rose up through the company’s ranks, eventually taking on the CEO role in 2012.
Crew’s appointment means she will be one of the few FTSE 100 women chief executives, with there currently reportedly only being ten women CEOs.
This comes after the London Stock Exchange marked 50 years since the first female traders were welcomed onto the floor. Susan Shaw and Hilary Pearson, who began working on 26 March 1973, were among the first female stockbrokers in the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) , and opened markets on Monday.
The company said during his tenure Diageo “made great strides” to be one of the “best performing most trusted and respected” drinks firms in the world, and has grown “significantly”, now selling 200 brands in 180 countries.
Menezes was knighted in 2023 for services to business and equality, in a nod to his support for employees and progressive policies, including increasing dividends every year.
His successor, Debra Crew, was the firm’s president in North America, which is it largest market, after having joined the board in 2019. She was formerly president and CEO of Reynolds American, and also spent five years at PepsiCo. Crew has also held positions at Kraft Foods, Nestlé S.A. and Mars.
This news comes after the firm reported strong pre-tax profits in the six months to 31 December, with the world’s largest spirits manufacturer’s increasing them to £3.1bn from £2.7bn, as reported earlier in the year. The firm has however been hit by the ongoing cost of living and inflation crisis, as its sales and profits were squeezed at Christmas.
Sir Ivan Menezes said: “It has been an enormous honour leading Diageo over the past decade.
“I am extremely proud of what we have achieved during that time, and I would like to thank my 28,000 talented colleagues around the world for all of their hard work, creativity and passion.
“I am delighted to be handing over the reins to Debra. In the time that we have worked together, I have been consistently impressed with her passion for growth and for building high performing teams.
Incoming CEO Debra Crew said “Ivan leaves Diageo in a very strong position for future growth and I look forward to working with our teams around the world to capture the opportunities ahead.”
Javier Ferrán, chairman of Diageo, said: “The Board is enormously grateful for Ivan’s contribution over the past decade” and “has diligently planned for Ivan’s successor, and we are delighted to have appointed a leader of Debra’s calibre to the role.”
He added the firm is “extremely well positioned for future growth”.