Holsten UK marketing director Phil Plowman has been poached by South African Breweries (SAB) to head its international marketing department.
The move adds fuel to City speculation that SAB is about to make a bid for Bass’ brewing interests.
A colleague at Holsten says: “It looks like convenient timing for SAB. Plowman has done an excellent job for Holsten and he would be well-placed to do the same at Bass.”
It is thought Plowman, who leaves Holsten at the end of this week, will be based at SAB’s Woking offices.
Plowman came to Holsten six years ago from Courage, where he was marketing controller on Foster’s lager, overseeing a major relaunch of the brand.
He also steered Holsten Pils through a relaunch three years ago.
The colleague says: “Plowman has done well at Holsten and he will be badly missed.”
The company’s marketing department is expected to be re-organised following Plowman’s departure. The company has yet to decide whether he will be directly replaced as marketing director, but sources indicate there is likely to be a vacancy at a senior level.
Holsten only took full responsibility for its brands in the UK last year following a long-standing distribution and marketing deal with Scottish Courage.
It is reviewing its £6m Holsten Pils advertising account out of TBWA GGT Simons Palmer after more than 20 years with the agency.
Plowman was not available for comment as Marketing Week went to press.