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Ivan Menezes, longtime ceo of Diageo, dies at 63

He was due to retire at the end of the month: his place is immediately taken by Debra Crew

Ivan Menezes, longtime head of Diageo, has passed away after a brief illness. Breaking the news was the company itself. Menezes, who served for 10 years as ceo of what many consider the world's largest alcohol company was 63 years old: he was due to retire at the end of this month. 

For several days the manager had been hospitalized with a stomach ulcer. According to information from Diageo, his recovery suffered a significant setback due to complications following emergency surgery to remedy an ulcer. The Johnnie Walker whiskey company confirms that ad designate Debra Crew has assumed the role of ceo immediately. 

Menezes, a British-American national, was born in the Indian city of Pune: he joined Diageo after it was formed with the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan in 1997. The executive, who designed the "Keep Walking" campaign for Johnnie Walker when he was head of marketing, had previously held positions at Whirlpool and Nestle.

"Menezes was undoubtedly one of the best leaders of his generation -emphasizes Diageo president Javier Ferrán-. The desire to build the best brands in the world never left him". 

Diageo, which also produces Tanqueray gin and Don Julio tequila, has seen a surge in sales under the leadership of the manager, who has led the company through multiple brand acquisitions and a major sustainability overhaul. The company accounts for 10% of total U.K. food and drink exports.

"He had the rare gift of achieving phenomenal business successes without ego or vanity, remaining a devoted family man, caring and generous to dozens of friends and acquaintances", said Arvind Subramanian, former chief economic adviser to the Indian government and a former fellow at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, India. 

Menezes, who was awarded a knighthood this year, leaves behind his wife and two children.

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EFA News - European Food Agency