AB InBev brings together marketing and innovation in new global CMO role

The brewer has appointed a new global CMO as it looks to bring marketing and its VC fund ZX Ventures closer together in a bid to scale innovations more quickly.

Budweiser

AB InBev is bringing together marketing and its ZX Ventures venture capital fund under a new global CMO role as it looks to roll out innovations more quickly and stay on top of consumer trends.

The shake-up means Pedro Earp, currently chief disruptive growth officer, will now hold the dual role of chief marketing and ZX Ventures officer. Miguel Patricio, previously CMO, will assume a new role overseeing global marketing projects, reporting into CEO Carlos Brito.

ZX Ventures will continue to be run independently of the rest of AB InBev and be led by Bernardo Novick, currently VP client services Latin America North. Since it was founded in 2015, it has focused on helping the brewer develop new products including craft beers, ecommerce and homebrewing. It is hoped that by bringing it closer to the marketing department that AB InBev can scale innovations more quickly.

Lucas Herscovici, currently global marketing VP of strategic functions, will become chief non-alcohol beverages officer with a focus on accelerating that area of the business, which currently accounts for 10% of AB InBev volume sales.

The changes to the marketing team are part of a wider shake-up at AB InBev with the aim of bringing the brewing behemoth closer to its consumers and making it more agile. It comes after the “successful combination” of AB InBev and SAB, which merged almost two years ago.

AB InBev is now simplifying its geographic structure – shifting from nine to six management zones. For example, a new South Americas zone combines the current Latin America South zone with the Brazil business unit, while a new APAC zone includes the current Asia Pacific North and South zones. Europe and Africa continue to be reported as a combined EMEA zone.

Zone bosses will be focused on driving growth opportunities and developing talent at the local level. They will, together with the leadership team, oversee their own zone’s commercial and external affairs agendas.

All the changes will be implemented from 1 January 2019.

The changes come as AB InBev’s second quarter results show it grew revenue by 4.7% year on year, driven by a 0.9% increase in beer volumes and 0.5% in non-beer. Global brands, which include Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, grew by 10.1% year on year globally, and 16.7% outside their home markets.

Jason Warner, president North Europe at AB InBev, says the UK saw “double-digit” revenue growth in the first half for the third year running, with sales of premium beers benefiting from the warm weather and World Cup, where Budweiser was the official beer.

AB InBev is now looking to focus on its global brands, low-alcohol and alcohol-free portfolio and its craft brands, including Goose Island and Camden Town. It will also put a focus on sustainability. “We want to make sure we can continue to make the nation’s favourite beers sustainably for years to come,” Warner adds.

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