Diageo appoints first female chief executive

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Debra Crew is the first female chief executive of Diageo
Debra Crew is the first female chief executive of Diageo

Related tags Drinks Drinks giant diageo appointments

Drinks giant Diageo has appointed its first female chief executive, following the announcement of current head Sir Ivan Menezes’ retirement in June this year.

Debra Crew, currently Diageo chief operating officer, will take the role of chief executive and join the board of directors effective from 1 July 2023.

Prior to her time with the drinks firm, Crew served as chief executive of tobacco company Reynolds America, delivering growth before the company’s acquisition by British American Tobacco in early 2017.

Crew has an extensive history within the food and drink industry, having previously spent five years with PepsiCo as president for its North America Nutrition, Beverages and Western Europe operations. She has also held positions at Kraft Foods, Nestlé and Mars.

Commenting on her appointment, Crew said: “I am delighted to be appointed Chief Executive Officer of Diageo. Ivan leaves Diageo in a very strong position for future growth and I look forward to working with our teams around the world to capture the opportunities ahead.

Next phase of development

“I am focused on continuing Diageo’s extraordinary track record of building world-leading brands and enhancing our reputation as one of the most responsible businesses in what I believe to be the most exciting consumer products category. It is an incredible privilege to be leading Diageo through the next phase of its development.”

Sir Ivan Menezes retires from the business after 10 years as chief executive. He began his career with the drinks firm in 1997 through the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan in 1997 and has held a number of senior positions during his tenure – from chief operating officer to president of Diageo North America.

During his time in charge of Diageo, Menezes has overseen substantial growth globally for its Scotch whisky, vodka, gin, rum, Canadian whisky, liqueur and tequila brands. The company is ranked number one in the UK for inclusion and diversity and number two globally in Equileap’s 2023 Gender Equality Report.

Diageo chairman Javier Ferrán said: “The Board is enormously grateful for Ivan’s contribution over the past decade. Under his stewardship, Diageo has consistently delivered a truly impressive performance to become one of the most respected businesses in the world.

Menezes’ achievements

“Ivan has transformed Diageo’s global footprint, brand portfolio and strategic focus, positioning our business as a clear leader in premium drinks. At the same time as delivering consistent shareholder returns, Ivan has nurtured a diverse and talented global workforce and made significant progress on the most material sustainability issues facing our business.

“Ivan leaves Diageo extremely well positionedfor future growth, and we thank him again for everything he has helped us to achieve.”

Ferrán praised Crew’s work as part of Diageo’s leadership team and its impressive track record and was confident the business would be in good hands going forward.

Menezes added: “I am delighted to be handing over the reins to Debra. In the time that we have worked together, I have been consistently impressed with her passion for growth and for building high performing teams.

“I am confident that under Debra’s leadership, and with our extraordinary portfolio of brands and culture, Diageo will go on to deliver our long-term performance ambition.”


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