Under Sir Ivan’s leadership, the company accounted for 10 per cent (£2 billion) of the UK’s total food and drinks exports
By: Chandrashekar Bhat
Sir Ivan Menezes, who on Tuesday (28) announced his retirement as Diageo CEO, has been credited for transforming the company into the world’s leading producer of premium drinks.
Under his leadership, it accounted for 10 per cent (£2 billion) of the UK’s total food and drinks exports. It has sales in more than 180 countries with a portfolio of over 200 brands, including Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, Baileys liqueur, Captain Morgan rum and Tanqueray and Gordon’s gin.
Sir Ivan who became Diageo CEO in July 2013 will leave the board on June 30 this year, having joined the firm in 1997, when it was formed from the merger of Guinness plc and Grand Metropolitan.
Along with his predecessor Paul Walsh, he was part of the team in charge of integrating the businesses. He held various senior management positions with Guinness and then Diageo until 2004 when he was appointed president of Diageo Venture Markets.
Before he was appointed chief operating officer in March 2012, the father of two was president and chief executive of Diageo North America for eight years. During this period he was also made chairman, Asia Pacific from October 2008 and chairman, Latin America & the Caribbean from July 2011.
Before joining Diageo, the post-graduate from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, worked across a variety of sales, marketing and strategy roles for Whirlpool in Europe, Booz Allen & Hamilton in North America, and Nestlé in Asia.
The Pune-born executive is also involved with the British Asian Trust’s Founders Circle, which brings together leaders from the British Asian community, building the influence of the diaspora to support positive change in south Asia.
The 63-year-old is an important voice in the drinks industry, serving as the chairman of the council of Scotch Whisky Association and member of the CEO Group of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, a global not-for-profit organisation dedicated to addressing harmful drinking and promoting responsible drinking.
In November 2020, he announced £1bn of investment in sustainability and community initiatives to tackle alcohol-related harm. During the pandemic, he produced more than 10 million bottles of hand sanitiser for healthcare workers around the world, including the NHS.
He was born in Pune in 1959. His father, Manuel, served as the chairman of India’s Railways Board, while his elder brother Victor is the former senior vice-chairman of investment bank Citigroup. His other sibling Michael serves as the chief financial officer, technology and operations, at Canada’s Bank of Montreal.
Sir Ivan was knighted this year for his services to business and equality.