Since Cees took the helm at Carlsberg in 2015, the company has been ‘significantly strengthened, as demonstrated by its strong financial, strategic, organizational and societal health’, says a statement from the Danish brewer.
In 2022, Carlsberg delivered all-time high revenue and operating profit of DKK 70.3bn and 11.5bn respectively. Since 2015, total cash returns to shareholders in the form of dividends and share buy-backs have increased fivefold – reaching DKK 7.8bn in 2022.
The CEO has also been behind the company’s SAIL ’22 strategy, launched in 2016 to strengthen the core business and identify future growth opportunities.
The beer giant has, however, been hit by the conflict in Ukraine: taking the ‘difficult but unavoidable decision’ last year to divest its Russian business (where it had previously enjoyed a #2 market position).
Cees ‘t Hart will stay on to see through the sale of the Russian business before transitioning to non-executive roles.
Chair of the Supervisory Board, Henrik Poulsen, said: “Cees ’t Hart has delivered remarkable results during his time at Carlsberg. Cees has been a catalyst for performance, achieving excellent results, and a true leader, ensuring the successful strategic transformation of the Carlsberg Group. Under his leadership, the Group has navigated significant challenges, including the difficult COVID-19 years, the war in Ukraine and the ongoing sale of the Russian business.
“Cees leaves behind a purpose-led and performance-driven company with solid strategic, financial, organizational and societal health. On behalf of the Supervisory Board, I thank Cees for his extraordinary contribution to Carlsberg and wish him the very best for the future.”
Before joining Carlsberg, Cees ’t Hart, a Dutch national, was chief executive of dairy company Royal Friesland Campina. Prior to that, he spent a number of years in various roles with Unilever.
CEO Cees ’t Hart said: “It has been a privilege leading Carlsberg the past eight years. I'm immensely proud of the organization and the results we as a team have achieved. The Executive Committee and the Extended Leadership Team are strong, resilient and well aligned on the strategic plans and ambitions for SAIL’27. I'm confident the successful journey of Carlsberg will continue well into the future.
“Staying on board for another half a year will allow me and the team to continue delivering on our challenging plans for 2023 and accomplishing the sale of the Russian business before the summer. Thereafter, I'll focus on some interesting non-executive roles.
“I wish already now to take the opportunity to thank all employees, customers, partners and stakeholders for the collaboration, trust and joint successes. I wish Carlsberg and all its great people the very best for the future.”
A search for the next CEO is under way.