Sir Ivan Menezes

Diageo CEO Sir Ivan Menezes dies following short illness

08 June, 2023

Chief executive officer of Diageo, Sir Ivan Menezes, has died at age 63 after a brief illness.

Following treatment for a medical condition, Menezes’ recovery suffered a “significant setback”, which led to emergency surgery on a stomach ulcer.

Diageo has appointed Debra Crew as interim CEO, with immediate effect, ahead of her appointment to the role on 1 July, as Menezes planned to retire on 31 June after 10 years leading the company as CEO.

In a statement, Diageo said Menezes had family by his side. Javier Ferrán, chairman of Diageo, said: “Ivan was undoubtedly one of the finest leaders of his generation. 

“Ivan was there at the creation of Diageo over 25 years ago and shaped it to become one of the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer companies,” Ferrán added. 

Diageo said Menezes was “one of Britain’s longest serving and most respected FTSE chief executives,” as he joined in 1997 at its creation and held a number of roles over his 25 years at the company. 

During his time he became global marketing director, UDV, in 1998 and was responsible for developing the ‘Keep Walking’ campaign for Johnnie Walker. 

Following this he held several senior positions including chief operating officer, president of Diageo’s North American arm and chairman roles for Diageo Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Menezes was appointed to the board as an executive director in July 2012 and served as CEO since July 2013. 

Having navigated the Covid-19 pandemic, Menezes delivered the company with net sales value 36% larger than in 2019.

Menezes also championed diversity, with the company today having over 40% of its senior leadership positions held by women, while 37% are ethnically diverse. 

Diageo said that during Menezes’ time as CEO, he oversaw an “outstanding period of change, growth and high performance,” as it now sells over 200 brands in more than 180 markets.

Diageo holds the position as the number one company by net sales value in Scotch whisky, vodka, gin, rum, Canadian whisky, liqueurs, and tequila, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis data.

The company’s portfolio includes brands such as Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker, Gordon’s gin and Guinness, which Menezes saw rank the number one selling beer by value for the first time in Great Britain’s on-trade, in December 2022. 

In January of this year, Menezes received a knighthood for services to business and equality in the King’s 2023 New Year Honours List. 

Menezes is survived by his wife Shibani and his two children. 

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