AB InBev chair to step down

06 March, 2019
AB InBev Olivier Goudet JAB Holding

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV chairman Olivier Goudet is stepping down from the world’s largest brewer to focus on his roles as managing partner and chief executive officer at JAB Holding Co.

Goudet will resign at AB InBev’s shareholder meeting on April 24, the beer company said in an emailed statement.

His departure illustrates the growing market sway that JAB has accumulated in the beverage and restaurant industries. The investment company, which counts the billionaire Reimann family among its backers, has gone on an acquisition spree in recent years, including chains such as Pret a Manger and Panera Bread Co.

“The board’s succession plan has been developed since last year and we have been working with Mr Goudet on a smooth transition,” the company said. “His successor, along with new members of our board, will be announced in due course in the context of our annual shareholders meeting.”

AB InBev had grown concerned that Goudet had a potential conflict of interest because of his role at JAB, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

The investment company manages a joint venture between Keurig Dr Pepper and AB Inbev that makes a pod-based cocktail machine that could compete with ABI’s own alcoholic beverages. 

Goudet’s increasingly busy schedule at JAB, where Chairman Bart Becht is retiring and ceding more responsibilities to other executives, also played a role in the decision, the person said.

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