After a brief illness, Sir Ivan Menezes, the longtime leader of Diageo, the largest producer of spirits in the world, passed away at 63. Menezes, who served as the £75 billion London-listed alcoholic beverage group’s chief executive from 2013 until this week, was receiving treatment in the hospital for several ailments, including a stomach ulcer.
The manufacturer of products like Guinness, Smirnoff, Gordon’s gin, and Johnnie Walker whisky, Diageo, announced Monday that Menezes had experienced a “significant setback” over the weekend due to problems. In response, the business declared Debra Crew would take over as temporary CEO with immediate effect, weeks before Menezes’ anticipated retirement at the end of June.
The chairman of Diageo, Javier Ferrán, declared on Wednesday: “This is a sad day. Unquestionably, Ivan was among the best leaders of his generation. “Ivan was present when Diageo was founded, and over 25 years, he helped Diageo grow into one of the best-performing, most dependable, and esteemed consumer firms. He never lost the drive to create the best brands in the world.
Under Menezes’ direction, Diageo’s market value nearly doubled from £42 billion to £75 billion. Menezes made one of history’s most well-known marketing efforts with the brand-reviving “Keep Walking” advertisements for Johnnie Walker, which began with Harvey Keitel in 1999.
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Menezes, knighted in January for his contributions to business and equality, received close to £8 million in compensation last year, including more than £6 million in bonus and incentive-related payments. When Guinness combined the beverage company Grand Metropolitan to establish Diageo in 1997, Menezes was employed there.
For the first time in Great Britain’s bars and restaurants in December, Guinness became the most valuable beer sold, according to the corporation, during his ten years as CEO. Menezes oversaw a recovery after the pandemic’s adverse effects on the hotel sector, and Diageo’s net sales value is now 36% greater than in 2019.
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Menezes, who held dual citizenship in the UK and the US and in his native India, oversaw the expansion of a business that, by its estimation, now contributes 10% of all food and beverage exports from the UK. He has created an outstanding legacy, according to Ferrán. We sympathise with Ivan’s wife, Shibani, and his two children, Nikhil and Rohini. Ivan leaves behind an extensive network of friends and a devoted family. We offer them our sincere condolences on behalf of the board, executive committee, and staff.
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