Carlos Brito's position at the head of AB InBev has never been so unsure in sixteen years. The search for a successor is reportedly in full swing, both inside and outside the world's largest beer-brewing company.
The rumour has been circulating for some time, but now it seems to ring true: Carlos Brito's reign at AB InBev is coming to an end. After sixteen years in office, his time will come to an end next year according to the business newspaper Financial Times - at least if a replacement is found in time.
The company is even said to consider external candidates now, even though the producer of Stella Artois, Budweiser and Corona usually prefers internal solutions. However, there would only be one internal candidate left, namely the general manager for North America Michel Doukeris.
Brito's weakening position already became clear with the departure of CFO Felipe Dutra, Brito’s trusted right-hand man for ages. Further replacements at the head of the company, such as the appointment of new directors for strategy (David Almeida) and human resources (Nelson Jamel), seem to underline the call for change.
Debts and acquisitions
Under Brito, AB InBev has become the world's largest brewery group, mainly through an aggressive acquisition strategy. Like his rival Jean-François van Boxmeer, who resigned this year as CEO of Heineken, he strongly believed in a global consolidation of the brewing industry. He actively participated in this by acquiring Anheuser-Busch in the United States and SAB Miller in South Africa.
However, the high level of debt generated by the costly acquisition of SAB Miller continues to haunt the company, further aggravated by the current health crisis. Analysts have been worried for some time about the growing debt and disappointing results. Nonetheless, Brito is expected to become a member of the board of directors after his departure.