UK – British multinational alcoholic beverage company, Diageo, will become the largest UK-listed company to be led by a woman following the appointment of its first female CEO, Debra Crew, effective 1 July 2023.
Barely a year after ascending to the position of Chief Operating Officer, Debra Crew will now climb the cooperate ladder further to succeed Sir Ivan Menezes, who has decided to retire as Chief Executive Officer and depart from the Diageo Board on 30 June 2023. She will also join the Diageo Board.
Debra is a graduate of the University of Denver, earned an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and previously served as an officer in the United States Army.
She has well-grounded experience in the food and beverage industry, having held different positions in multinational food giants such as PepsiCo for five years, Kraft Foods, Nestlé S.A., and Mars, Inc.
Debra is also the former President and CEO of Reynolds American, Inc., where she delivered strong performance growth before the company’s acquisition.
Meanwhile, Ivan, who has led the company for ten years, joined Diageo through the merger of Guinness plc and Grand Metropolitan plc in 1997. He has held several senior positions in the business, including Chief Operating Officer; President of Diageo North America; Chairman of Diageo Asia Pacific; and Chairman of Diageo Latin America and Caribbean.
He was appointed an Executive Director of Diageo in July 2012 and has served as Chief Executive Officer since July 2013, overseeing an outstanding period of change, growth, and high performance.
Diageo credited Menezes for Diageo’s significant growth during his tenure, with the firm currently selling more than 200 brands in 180-plus markets, ranking position one by net sales value in Scotch whisky, vodka, gin, rum, Canadian whisky, liqueurs, and also tequila, a category in which only eight years ago the company had no substantive position.
Ivan has also had an impactful tenure in terms of sustainability, driving the company to become one of the top 1% of companies globally to achieve a “Double A” rating for Water Security and Climate Change from CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), as well as a particularly strong stance on inclusion and diversity.
With Debra’s appointment as CEO, Diageo said women will make up more than 50% of Diageo’s Executive Committee from 1 July 2023.
Menezes said: “It has been an enormous honor leading Diageo over the past decade… I am delighted to be handing over the reins to Debra. In the time that we have worked together, I have been consistently impressed with her passion for growth and building high-performing teams.”
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