Tom Long to replace Leo Kiely as MillerCoors CEO

Tom Long to replace Leo Kiely as MillerCoors' CEO

MillerCoors has announced that its CEO, Leo Kiely, will retire and be replaced by the brewer's current president and chief commercial officer, Tom Long.

The SABMiller and Molson Coors-owned joint venture said today (27 April) that Kiely will stand down on 1 June. It said that plans were laid for Long's succession as early as late 2007, when the joint venture was signed.

The two leaders have shared duties in the office of the CEO and president since September of 2010, in preparation for this move, said MillerCoors. "Tom [Long] brings extensive experience to the table having served previously as chief executive officer and chief marketing officer of Miller Brewing Company," said SABMiller's CEO, Graham Mackay.

Long, who joined Miller Brewing Co in 2005 following 17 years with The Coca-Cola Co, will take the reins at MillerCoors during a difficult time for the US beer industry.

For the 12 months to the end of March, MillerCoors' US domestic sales to retailers (STRs) fell by 2.6% in volume, although the rate of decline lessened in the final quarter of the year. Sales to wholesalers fell by 2.7% for the year, SABMiller announced last week.

However, several analysts expect mainstream beer sales in the US to improve during 2011. "We take SABMiller’s US performance, along with healthy industry pricing and improving mix, as a positive signal regarding the industry," said Stifel Nicolaus analysts last week.

Separately, MillerCoors expects Coors Light to overtake Budweiser in terms of volume market share in the US in 2011.