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Anheuser-Busch InBev lines up former Altria CEO as next chairperson

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Anheuser-Busch InBev is set to make several changes to its board of directors at the next AGM, including the appointment of a new chairperson.

Anheuser-Busch InBev will hold its AGM on 24 April

Anheuser-Busch InBev will hold its AGM on 24 April

Earlier today, the group announced that Olivier Goudet, Alexandre Behring, Stéfan Descheemaeker and Carlos Alberto Sicupira will leave their positions after the meeting. Goudet, who has been chairperson since 2015, is set to be replaced by the former chair & CEO of Altria Group, Martin Barrington.

According to A-B InBev, Barrington has been on the board since the brewer completed the acquisition of SABMiller in 2016.

"We believe that his experience as a former chairman & CEO of a listed, broadly-held multinational company means that he brings strong qualifications to the role," A-B InBev said. "He is an expert in governance, regulatory topics and operational excellence, and left his previous role with a recognised track-record for shareholder value creation."

Meanwhile, to fill the independent director seat left by Goudet, A-B InBev is proposing ASL Automobile Science & Technology founder Dr Xiaozhi Liu. To replace Behring, Descheemaeker and Sicupira, controlling shareholders have put forward A-B InBev's former chief people officer, Claudio Garcia, the brewer's former chief legal officer, Sabine Chalmers, and AmBev director Cecilia Sicupira.

In a note following the announcement, Jefferies analyst Edward Mundy said the switches represent "continuity rather than change".

"Incoming chairman Barrington has been a board member of A-B InBev since 2016 and the appointment represents continuity in our view," Mundy said. "The ... announcement points to "new perspectives" from the board evolution, however, of the new board members, only Liu is currently unconnected to the business.

"This points to the importance of maintaining A-B InBev's Dream-People-Culture platform and strong culture."

The AGM takes place on 24 April. 

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