Anheuser-Busch has announced changes to the company's management, designed to reflect the growth and expansion of the company's beer business.

The company has appointed Michael J. Owens to the newly-created position of vice president of sales and marketing. Owens will gain responsibility for all marketing divisions while retaining his current US sales responsibilities. Owens will join the company's strategy committee of top executives and will report directly to President August A. Busch IV.

The move recognises the importance of the sales and marketing roles on the corporation's performance and unites the two areas under a single strategic direction, the company said.

"For the past three years, Mike has successfully led the Anheuser-Busch selling effort with innovative strategies that have helped achieve the company's continued sales growth," said Busch. "Mike's appointment is an important strategic and operational change that will allow the company to benefit from his strong leadership and broad experience."

AB also announced two other key appointments to the company's strategy committee of top executives.

"As we look to the future, our international success is also critical. One of the key drivers to continued global growth is the ability to bring our marketing and media skills to a broad audience," Busch added.

AB has subsequently announced that Robert C. Lachky, vice president, brand management and director, global brand creative will join the company's strategy committee. "This move recognises Bob as one of the best strategic and creative minds in any industry, and Bob will continue to work directly with me on creative strategy and development," Busch said.

Anthony T. Ponturo, vice president, global media and sports marketing, will also become a member of the company's strategy committee. "Tony's efforts have been and remain instrumental in our ability to build our presence around the world through securing key sports sponsorships and garnering prime media properties for the company," said Busch.

Owens, Lachky and Ponturo will remain on the board of AB, as well as on its management committee, a group consisting of the subsidiary's top executives. "The integration of these three gentlemen into Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. through their positions on the strategy committee is one more step in helping us achieve a united and seamless management team, better enabling us to be one company, with one goal: To be the world's best beer company," Busch concluded.