Brewing powerhouse Heineken (HEIN.AS) just announced some positive numbers for the last quarter and some serious changes in leadership. After confirming that fourth quarter earnings exceeded analysts’ estimates, the Belgian beer house also announced that long serving CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer will step down.
A Good Quarter
Heineken reported that beer volumes grew by 4.1% in the fourth quartered by large rises in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Brazil. (Most analysts on the Street set their best-0case predictions at 3.9%.) In addtion, Full-year adjusted net income reached 2.52 billion euros ($2.8 billion).
Of course, the news wasn’t all good with the Coronavirus looming large. Heineken owns the majority share in Snow, China’s best selling beer,
“We are cautious, we are just looking at the situation, but for sure it is not paralyzing, that would be too big a word, but it will have some consequences,” said van Boxmeer on a conference call.
Heineken stock prices reacted accordingly posting gains over 5% by mid-afternoon on Wednesday (2.12).
Van Boxmeer Retires
Jean-Francois van Boxmeer led Heineken for the last 15 years, a well regarded tenure marked by growth and acquisition. After a transitional period, Dolf van den Brink, currently President Asia Pacific region and Executive Team member, is slated to take the helm on June 1, 2020.
“It has been a great privilege and honour to lead Heineken and to work with so many great people from all over the world over the past three decades,” said van Boxmeer in a statement. “I feel now is the right moment to hand over leadership to the next generation. I am proud of what we have achieved together.”
Under van Boxmeer’s guidance, Heineken grew to be the second largest brewer in the world (after AB InBev). The expansion was aided by some 30 billion euros ($33 billion) in acquisitions including the Snow deal.
After 22 years at the company, Stefan Orlowski, currently President Europe, will also leave Heineken. Orlowski was regarded as a contender for van Boxmeer’s job; he was not offered the post and the decision to leave is likely related.
“Leaving Heineken has been a very personal decision for Stefan. He played a major role in the company, and he has been a member of my leadership team for a long time. I want to praise Stefan’s 22 years of service, during which he built an impressive track record of success in a variety of leadership roles,” said van Boxmeer in a statement. “As President Europe, he contributed strongly to the Heineken performance through his clear strategy focused on premium and innovation combined with continuous capability building, cost management and efficiency. He leaves Heineken with our genuine great thanks and best wishes for the future.”