Mackay (pictured below) underwent surgery yesterday, and has been replaced by current COO, Alan Clark, who had already been chosen as his successor.
Clark was appointed COO in July 2012 with a view to succeeding Mr Mackay as CEO in July 2013 after a handover period of one year .
Mackay was to become non-executive chair, and the SAB board said it would keep his position under review pending the outcome of treatment.
Mackay does not foresee operational impact
John Manser, deputy chairman, will take on the role of acting chairman for the time being.
Manser said : “Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with Graham and his family at this difficult time. We wish him well and look forward to his recovery.”
The transition from Mackay to Clark was already in its “final stages”, Manser said.
“We are confident that under Alan Clark’s leadership the management team will continue to grow our business and deliver value to shareholders,” he added.
Mackay told SAB Miller employees: “I am inexpressibly proud of this company, what it has achieved and the shape it is in. I certainly do not expect there to be any impact from this development on its operations or strategic direction, which will continue to run as normal.
“I obviously have an additional personal objective, and that is to get well as quickly as possible for the sake of my wife and children. Thank you all for your support, ” he added.