Diageo announces death of CEO Sir Ivan Menezes

Diageo announces death of CEO Sir Ivan Menezes

Menezes had worked for Diageo for more than 25 years, including 10 as its CEO

News | 07 Jun 2023

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Diageo has announced the death of its CEO Sir Ivan Menezes, hailing him as "one of the finest leaders of his generation".

Menezes died following a short illness, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The news comes after Diageo issued a statement on 5 June announcing Debra Crew as interim CEO while Menezes received hospital treatment for medical conditions including a stomach ulcer. He was due to retire from the company's board on 30 June 2023.

He is survived by his wife Shibani and children Nikhil and Rohini.

As one of the longest-serving CEOs of a FTSE 100 company, Menezes is widely credited with transforming Diageo into the leader in the global drinks industry that it is today.

In a statement, Diageo chairman Javier Ferrán said Menezes had been a "thoughtful and passionate colleague and friend" who had built a extraordinary legacy.

"This is an incredibly sad day. Ivan was undoubtedly one of the finest leaders of his generation," Ferrán said.

"Ivan was there at the creation of Diageo and over 25 years shaped Diageo to become one of the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer companies. I saw first-hand his steadfast commitment to our people and to creating a culture that enabled everyone to thrive. He invested his time and energy in people at every level of the company and saw potential that others may have overlooked. This is one of many reasons why he was beloved by our employees, past and present."

Menezes joined Diageo in 1997 and held a number of senior positions across the company, including UDV global marketing director, COO, president of Diageo North America, and chairman of both Diageo Asia and Diageo Latin America and Caribbean. He was appointed as CEO in July 2013.

During his tenure, Menezes oversaw enormous global growth success for Diageo, which now has more than 200 brands (including whisky, gin, vodka, rum, and more recently Tequila) sold in more than 180 countries and accounts for 10 per cent of the UK's entire food and drink exports.

Alongside his work to build the business globally, Menezes was also an active campaigner for equality in the workplace and pushed for greater recognition and seniority for women and people from ethnic minorities in the business. Thanks in part to his efforts, 37 per cent of people in senior leadership positions at Diageo are now ethnically diverse, more than half of the executive committee is female (from no female members at all 15 years ago), and in February 2023, Diageo was named the top company for female representation at board level in the FTSE Women Leaders Review.

In January 2023, Menezes was awarded a knighthood for services to business and to equality in King Charles III’s New Year Honours List.
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