Anheuser-Busch InBev taps completely new US chief to turn around sluggish sales

Michel Doukeris is usually taking over as CEO of Anheuser-Busch, AB InBev’s North American unit, along with he’s tasked with growing U.S. sales, a problem which has vexed the global brewer.

AB InBev announced Monday which Doukeris could replace current North America Zone President along with Anheuser-Bush CEO, Joao Castro Neves. The company said 22-year-veteran Neves could leave to pursue some other interests.

Sales inside the U.S. have slumped, as consumers drink more craft along with imported beer as well as wine along with spirits. Staples like Budweiser along with Bud Light have struggled, while Mexican beers like Corona have thrived.

Doukeris, a 21-year-veteran who currently serves as chief sales officer, grew Budweiser in China along with spearheaded AB InBev’s efforts to make the company’s portfolio more premium. Unlike Neves along with previous CEO Luiz Edmond, his background is usually in sales, not finance, along with which’s a key shift for a company which has relied on cost-cutting along with mergers along with acquisitions, said Jefferies analyst Ed Mundy.

“They’re masters at integration along with cost cutting, yet they’re at the end of the road with (mergers along with acquisitions),” Mundy said. “There are few some other roads they could go down, so which business needs to focus much more on organic growth along with which hasn’t been a core of the ABI skillset.”

Growing Bud Light along with Budweiser will be two of Doukeris’ most obvious challenges. Bud Light’s sales have slid 5.8 percent which year, along with Budweiser’s have skid 6.7 percent, according to Nielsen data compiled by Beer Marketer’s Insights. which’s down via losses of 3 percent along with 2.5 percent last year.

yet which probably won’t be Doukeris’ only focus. Mundy pointed to Michelob Ultra, which has become an important piece of the company’s portfolio. Sales have risen 21.9 percent which year along with 22.8 percent last year, according to Nielsen data compiled by Beer Marketer’s Insights.

Michelob Ultra is usually nearing 10 percent of Anheuser-Busch’s total volume inside the U.S., though Bud Light along with Bud combined still represent about 50 percent, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights. Because of which breakdown, Doukeris will likely focus on both stemming declines in Bud along with Bud Light while also growing Michelob Ultra, Mundy said.

At the very last, he said, the shakeup shows AB InBev’s commitment to topline growth inside the U.S. The company made a point of stating which in its press Discharge announcing the change.

AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito said, in a statement, “The US is usually our most important market along with we recognize the need to continue to focus on driving topline growth across our portfolio…(Doukeris) is usually the ideal person to lead North America at which time, together with an emerging group of leaders being elevated inside the company.”

Anheuser-Busch also announced a slate of personnel alterations, including Northeast Region leader along with former PepsiCo veteran Brendan Whitworth being named vice president of sales. He will replace Alex Medicis. All alterations are slated to be effective Jan. 1.

Shares of AB InBev fell 0.4 percent on Monday. They’ve gained 11.7 percent which year.

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