Diageo Boss Sir Ivan Menezes passes away at 63

Sir Ivan Menezes, chief executive of the world’s biggest spirits maker Diageo, has died at the age of 63 after a short illness.

Diageo Boss Sir Ivan Menezes passes away at 63 f

“He has built an extraordinary legacy."

Sir Ivan Menezes, the long-serving boss of the world’s biggest spirits maker Diageo, has passed away at the age of 63 following a short illness.

He had been chief executive of the £75 billion London-listed alcoholic beverage group since 2013. Menezes stepped back on the week commencing June 5, 2023.

He had been in hospital being treated for various medical conditions including a stomach ulcer.

On June 5, Diageo said Menezes suffered a “significant setback” over the weekend due to complications.

As a result, the company announced that Debra Crew would become interim chief executive with immediate effect, weeks before Menezes’ planned retirement at the end of June.

Javier Ferrán, the chair of Diageo, said:

“This is an incredibly sad day. Ivan was undoubtedly one of the finest leaders of his generation.

“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.

“His desire to build the world’s best brands never left him.”

Producer of Guinness, Smirnoff, Gordon’s gin and Johnnie Walker whisky, Diageo’s market value almost doubled under Menezes’ leadership, going from £42 billion to £75 billion.

Sir Ivan Menezes developed one of the world’s most famous marketing campaigns in the brand-reviving “Keep Walking” ads for Johnnie Walker starting with Harvey Keitel in 1999.

Menezes, who was knighted in January 2023 for services to business and equality, was paid almost £8 million in 2022, including more than £6 million in bonus- and incentive-related awards.

He was working at Guinness when it merged with the drinks group Grand Metropolitan in 1997 to form Diageo.

During his decade as chief executive, achievements included Guinness becoming the biggest-selling beer by value in bars and restaurants in Great Britain for the first time in December 2022.

Following the pandemic’s impact on the hospitality industry, Menezes led a recovery that has seen Diageo’s net sales value 36% higher than in 2019.

Born in Pune, India, Menezes held UK and US citizenship.

He said a company that has grown to account for 10% of the UK’s total food and drinks exports.

Ferrán said: “He has built an extraordinary legacy.

“Ivan leaves behind many friends and a beloved family, and our thoughts are particularly with his wife, Shibani, and his two children, Nikhil and Rohini.

“On behalf of the board, executive committee and all our employees, we extend our deepest sympathies to them.”

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

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