AFRICA – Guinness Nigeria Plc, a subsidiary of Diageo Plc, has announced a change in the leadership of the company.
John O’Keeffe, its current managing director/CEO has been promoted president, Diageo Africa, joining the Diageo Executive Committee and reporting to Nick Blazquez, president, Africa and Asia.O’Keeffe’s new appointment will take effect from July 1, 2015.
John O’Keeffe will bring a breadth of marketing and general management experience to the executive team, having, in addition to his Nigeria role, led Diageo’s Global Innovation, Beer and Baileys categories, served as managing director for the Russia and Eastern Europe business and undertaken senior marketing roles across multiple European markets and Jamaica.
The managing directors of Diageo’s 4 African markets (Nigeria, South Africa, East Africa and African Regional Markets – rest of Africa), as well the regional finance director, Africa, will report to John O’Keeffe.
Since his resumption in role as Guinness Nigeria’s managing director/CEO in November 2014, O’Keeffe has been engaged primarily with sustaining the recovery of the business, building a fit for purpose commercial organisation and improving employee morale and engagement.
Growing and broadening the firm’s innovation portfolio has also been a key area of focus for O’Keeffe. Under his leadership, the improvement in the performance of the business has accelerated.
O’Keeffe will continue as a non-executive director of Guinness Nigeria and as the Diageo executive responsible for Diageo’s African business, will continue to stay involved with the Nigerian business.
Guinness Nigeria has also announced the appointment of Soren Lauridsen as O’Keeffe’s successor.
Lauridsen joins Diageo from Carlsberg and brings with him considerable experience in the beer category and knowledge of emerging markets. During his 10-year career at Carlsberg, Lauridsen held senior leadership roles including regional CEO of South Asia, based in Bangkok and managing director for Carlsberg India.
He also has leadership experience of working for Carlsberg in Laos and Poland. Prior to working at Carlsberg, he worked as category director for Orkla Foods covering Nordics and Eastern Europe for 3 years and held several leadership positions in Unilever Foods for 13 years.
Lauridsen is thrilled at the opportunity to work in Nigeria and lead this exciting business. The firm believes that his track record as managing director in a globally renowned beer business as well significant emerging market experience will serve him well in the role. He will be assisted by a strong executive team comprising of experienced Nigerian and expatriate professionals.
Lauridsen will resume in his role in May 2015 and will work alongside O’Keeffe until the end of the financial year in June 2015 to ensure a smooth transition.