Carlos Brito, who transformed a Brazilian regional brewer into the world’s largest beer maker, Anheuser-Busch InBev, will step down as CEO of the group after 15 years.
AB InBev said Brito would hand over his role to Michel Doukeris, president of the group’s North American operations, on July 1 and leave the company after more than three decades.
The departure of the 60-year-old marks the end of an era for the brewing industry after Jean-François van Boxmeer resigned as CEO of Heineken in 2020. Both have contributed to the consolidation of the sector, by acquiring regional players to create world brewing powers.
“Among his many accomplishments, Brito was the architect who led and made AB InBev the world leader in beer and a world leader in consumer packaged products by masterfully integrating the many companies that make up AB InBev today” , said Martin Barrington, president of AB InBev.
Budweiser brewer Stella Artois and Corona had seriously considered outside candidates for the role, Financial Times reported last year, but opted for Doukeris, another Brazilian who joined the group 25 years ago, rising through his business hierarchy before heading the Asian and North American businesses.
AB InBev said the board unanimously elected Doukeris.
Brito’s departure comes as the company battles the impact of the pandemic in addition to debt that stood at $ 82.7 billion at the end of 2020, incurred by his acquisition of SABMiller in 2016. The company halved its dividend in April of last year.
He reported Thursday that first-quarter revenue rose 17.2%, ahead of expectations, to $ 12.3 billion, on a 13.3% increase in beer volumes sold as global consumption drinks and socializing was starting to recover from the pandemic restrictions, generating an underlying $ 1.1 billion. profit.
Brito’s brewing career began in 1989 when he joined Brazilian brewer Brahma, working for his mentor Jorge Paulo Lemann, founder of private equity firm 3G, who paid for his education at Stanford.
Brahma began a deal-led expansion, turning into regional brewer Ambev. Brito took over as CEO in 2004, and the same year the company merged with Belgian Interbrew, founder of Stella Artois, to create InBev. Four years later, it carried out a hostile takeover of the American group Anheuser-Busch to become a global brewer.