Barry Smith to retire at end of 2010, SABMiller says

Barry Smith to retire at end of 2010, SABMiller says

SABMiller's president for its Latin America beer business, Barry Smith, is to retire, the brewer has announced.

Smith will stand down at the end of this year after 26 years with the brewer and just over three years as head of operations in Latin America, SABMiller said today (22 October). He will be replaced by Karl Lippert, who is currently president of SABMiller's subsidiary in Colombia, Bavaria.

Lippert, who has been with SABMiller and its forerunner company since 1992, will report directly to the brewer's CEO, Graham Mackay. He will take up his role on 1 January.

Latin America contributed 31% of SABMiller's earnings (EBITA) in the brewer's most recent fiscal year, making Smith's position one of the most significant in the group. In the same year, Latin America accounted for 21% of group volumes and 22% of net sales.

"Barry Smith has made an enduring and outstanding contribution to SABMiller over many years, culminating in his inspirational leadership of a vibrant and growing business in Latin America, and the building of a strong management team throughout the region," said Mackay.

It has not been an easy last year for Smith. Earlier this year, SABMiller missed out to Heineken on the acquisition of Mexico's second largest brewer, FEMSA Cerveza.

A 14% increase in value added tax on alcohol in Colombia has also depressed SABMiller's volume sales in Latin America. The brewer last week reported half-year volumes in Latin America "marginally" lower than in the same period of last year. Bavaria reported a 7% drop in volume sales in Colombia for the six-month period.