Blog: Olly WehringIt ain't where you're from... according to InBev

Olly Wehring | 20 November 2006

When Interbrew and AmBev hooked up in 2004, it looked to many like Interbrew was conducting a takeover of the South American company. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I half-expected a flow of executives to move across the Atlantic in a westward direction. While eyebrows were raised, however, at the end of last year when AmBev’s CEO Carlos Brito headed to Belgium to take the new company’s top job, the trickle of criticism levelled at the company has grown steadily in the last 11 months.

Local papers reported last week that another Belgian executive is to leave the company. Technical director Andre Weckx has resigned from InBev after 25 years and will be replaced by AmBev veteran Claudio Braz Ferro.

When we spoke to InBev, they were quick to defend their position. “It is InBev’s desire to foster a truly global organisation and bring together experience from around the world,” a spokesperson said. “When choosing our leadership, we aim to select the right person for the job, regardless of nationality. We put in place the best team possible to execute our strategy and to achieve our objectives.”

This comes as a timely reminder to us all that the world is getting smaller, and where you’re from is nowhere near as important as where you’re at. Of course, our industry stirs pride and passion in even the hardest of hearts at times. But the irrationality of nationalism has no place in the 21st century. The very strange situation that occurred last year when the French Prime Minister voiced his opinion on rumours that Pepsi might buy Danone serves as a good example of this.


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