Olivier Goudet is resigning as chairman of AB InBev due to a possible conflict of interest. He has opted to remain the CEO of JAB Holdings (which includes Douwe Egberts and Keurig Dr. Pepper), and feels he can no longer combine that with his position in the brewery group.
The search for a new chairman
AB InBev and JAB Holdings are getting closer to each other: soft drink group Dr. Pepper Snapple became a division of JAB in 2018 and the world's biggest beer producer has been moving ever more in the direction of non-alcoholic beverages. This may lead to possible conflicts of interest for Goudet, who is currently both chairman of the board of directors at AB InBev and CEO at JAB.
The beer giant will elect its new chairman on the next stakeholder meeting in April. Goudet has chosen to continue his path at JAB, where his responsibilities as managing partner and CEO keep growing. Meanwhile, he is actively involved in the search for a successor at AB InBev, according to the Financial Times.
Coffee machine for beer and soda
There is already a lot of cross-pollination between AB InBev and JAB Holdings, which can sometimes be quite far-reaching. Recently, both groups joined up to launch Drinkworks, a kind of Nespresso machine to serve beer. Like the famous coffee machines, it uses capsules containing the concentrated contents of a single serving. There are also capsules for cocktails and soft drinks. Coffee machine manufacturer Keurig developed the machine; the available soft drinks belong to the Dr. Pepper group.
Connections can also be found in the shareholder structure of the two FMCG groups: AB Inbev's familial shareholders, including Alexandre Van Damme and the De Spoelberch family, have been investing in the JAB group for quite a while. Analysts also suggest that the next growth step for AB InBev should be in the world of soft drinks, possibly by way of a large-scale takeover.