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Van Boxmeer leaves behind a more worldly Heineken as CEO dances out the door - comment

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When Anheuser-Busch InBev CFO Felipe Dutra announced last week that he will be stepping down99r8这是只有精品视频20, the prospect of his replacement - another Brazilian man - did little to reflect today's widening global beer market.

Incoming Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink has experience in a number of important markets

99r8这是只有精品视频20Incoming Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink has experience in a number of important markets

Those who decry beer's lack of diversity now have even more to shout about after Heineken yesterday said it will replace Belgian CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer with Dutchman Dolf van den Brink.

Of course, it would be foolish to dismiss van den Brink's appointment solely on the optics. The 46-year-old is a highly-qualified successor to van Boxmeer (more on that later). And, if you take Heineken's point of view, there is sense in sticking as close to the current management formula as possible, largely because it is working. Van Boxmeer's tenure, arguably, has been the company's most successful in its history.

99r8这是只有精品视频20Hollywood royalty may not line up to play van Boxmeer on screen, as , but then the Heineken career man hasn't done anything nearly as colourful as getting himself kidnapped. What he has achieved in his 15 years at the top is a more-than-doubling of Heineken's size. He has also potentially enshrined a runway of growth extending at least for another decade.

99r8这是只有精品视频20This will be the CEO's main legacy.

As Bernstein analyst Trevor Stirling notes in a glowing profile of van Boxmeer today, Heineken's current three main drivers of growth - Vietnam, Brazil and Mexico - were not part of the brewer's footprint when the CEO took over in 2005. Van Boxmeer helmed the acquisition of FEMSA's beer operations, which gave the company important assets in Mexico and Brazil. In today's full-year results for 2019, Mexico and Brazil drove Heineken's growth in the Americas, making up for US weakness. Vietnam, which Heineken entered in a meaningful way through its takeover of Asia Pacific Breweries in 2012, was the main driver of Asia-Pacific growth. Today, Tiger is Vietnam's leading beer brand.

"I think it is no exaggeration to say that, together with [Anheuser-Busch CEO Carlos] Brito and the late [former SABMiller head] Graham Mackay, he has been one of the titans of the modern brewing industry," Stirling said of van Boxmeer, noting that the Heineken boss beats out Brito as longest-serving current global brewer CEO by two months.

On a personal note, Stirling says he will miss catching up with van Boxmeer over a beer for "his philosophical perspectives" on the industry. I've not met the Heineken CEO, but stories from the circuit show that behind the rather staid corporate presentational style is a warm-hearted, fully-functioning human being. Tony Magee, the founder of Heineken's 2015 acquisition Lagunitas, told me he realised he would sell to Heineken when he saw van Boxmeer at an event gleefully dancing with a child, like an uncle at a wedding. If that was the CEO, surmised Magee, who mistrusted large brewing conglomerates, then surely the company can't be all bad.

Van Boxmeer's oft-reported charm and ease may have something to do with the fact he was the first Heineken CEO with primary experience of the brewing world's more obscure corners. As an up-and-comer with the group, van Boxmeer was the regional boss of Poland and what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. His worldliness was shown in his later infrastructure projects in emerging markets and his obvious love for his foreign postings - when he met with just-drinks in 201199r8这是只有精品视频20 he spoke Polish to the waitress, a legacy of his time in Warsaw.

This globe-trotting trait has infected the rest of the company. All the Heineken executives I've interviewed boast a trove of stories from the front-line of the brewing world, whether setting up breweries in Ethiopia or breaching new frontiers in South-East Asia. The top table at Heineken may have similar cultural backgrounds but, as professionals, they are steeped in global brewing.

New CEO van den Brink appears very much cut from this Heineken cloth. A student at Groningen University and then a ground-floor management trainee graduate, van den Brink worked his way up via some of the company's most interesting outposts.

99r8这是只有精品视频20The Dutchman is currently president of Asia-Pacific and was previously regional head in the US and later Mexico. He also followed in van Boxmeer's footsteps to DR Congo - ensuring that from now on, Kinshasa is the prime posting for all ambitious Heineken employees.

The question now is, what becomes of van Boxmeer? The CEO will trade his post for a likely seat on the board at Heineken's majority owner, Heineken Holdings. Other directorships may come calling. Diageo recently appointed former Remy Cointreau CEO Valérie Chapoulaud-Floquet to join Bacardi's ex-leader, Javier Ferrán, on its board. Van Boxmeer would make a knowledgable addition to the mix.

How will the coronavirus impact the beverage industry? - Click here for a just-drinks focus


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