Blog: Is SABMiller's CEO a secret Frank Zappa fan?

James Wilmore | 21 February 2013

Does Graham Mackay, SABMiller's outgoing top man, have a secret penchant for the late American jazz-rock musician and producer Frank Zappa?

This may seem an odd question to pose. But, the reason I ask is that Mackay treated his (I'm guessing slightly bemused) audience at the CAGNY conference this week to some wisdom from the 60's avant-gardist.

At one point in his presentation, the CEO produced a slide with this Zappa-attributed quote: “You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.”

Mackay's point was that SABMiller aims to take a local approach in its overseas ventures.

As the slide appeared, Mackay said: “Of course we all feel deeply what the sage on the screen expressed.”

And then, with a wistful air, he added: “There was a man not troubled by self-doubt: You can tell by looking at his moustache.”

Perhaps, then, when Mackay finally hangs up his pinstripes, he'll spend his days nodding along to the likes of Freak Out! And Sheikh Yerbouti. 

There's an image for you.

Follow me on Twitter @jamescwilmore



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