On July 1st, Carlos Brito will step down as AB InBev's chief executive. He will be succeeded by his compatriot Michel Doukeris, who currently heads the North American arm of the world's largest brewer.
Brito's imminent departure comes as no surprise. In recent months, rumours about a possible departure of the 60-year-old Brazilian have flared up again. Last year, financial director Felipe Dutra, Brito's right-hand man for a long time, already had to step down.
In the past 15 years, Brito has built the maker of Stella Artois into the largest brewer in the world. He was the man behind a series of billion-dollar deals, acquiring Anheuser-Busch (2008), Grupo Modelo (2012) and SABMiller (2016).
Yet the latter takeover in particular proved hard to swallow. The Belgian-Brazilian brewer paid no less than 79 billion pounds (91 billion euros) for its major competitor, saddling itself with a sky-high debt. This mountain of debt still weighs heavily on the beer giant today.
On 1 July, Michel Doukeris will take over the torch. The Brazilian has been working for AB InBev since 1996, and for the past three years, he has been director of the North American branch of the concern, which managed to return to growth under his leadership. Doukeris is also the man behind the successful introduction of the so-called hard seltzers, the light-alcoholic drinks based on sparkling water, alcohol and fruit flavourings that are rapidly gaining popularity, especially among young people, and that are now also coming onto the market in Europe.