The company says the board intends to appoint du Plessis as chairman in succession to John Manser at the conclusion of the annual general meeting in July 2015, when Manser will, as previously intimated, retire from the board, having deferred his previously expected retirement date for one year.
This will allow for a period of familiarisation and handover, and facilitate orderly succession planning. Du Plessis will also join the nomination committee.
Du Plessis, aged 60, is chairman of Rio Tinto, having been appointed to that role in 2009, following his appointment as a director in 2008. He has been a non-executive director of Marks and Spencer since 2008 and senior independent director since March 2012. Du Plessis has agreed with the Marks and Spencer chairman that he will stand down from the M&S board in the first half of 2015, before being appointed SABMiller chairman.
Manser said: “I am delighted that Jan has agreed to join the board. He has not only an excellent record as a chairman of major international groups with developing markets footprints, but also a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of international consumer businesses. I look forward to working with Jan over the coming months before handing on the chairmanship next July.”
Jan du Plessis said: “I have tremendous admiration for the way in which SABMiller has transformed itself over the last decade into one of the world’s leading brewers. With a life-time of experience in the world of international consumer brands, joining the board of SABMiller is simply one of the most natural decisions I could ever hope to make. I am honoured to have been invited, and very excited about the future of this great company.”