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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

India-born COO Ivan Menezes is new Diageo chief

Rosalba O'Brien, Reuters  London, May 07, 2013
First Published: 15:34 IST(7/5/2013) | Last Updated: 08:19 IST(8/5/2013)

The world’s top liquor company Diageo on Tuesday reshuffled its management, with company insider and Indian-origin chief operating officer Ivan Menezes replacing Paul Walsh, who has been CEO for 13 years.

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The value of Diageo has tripled under Walsh but the firm has struggled recently in some acquisition attempts in emerging markets.

Diageo had in November got into an agreement to buy a controlling 53.4% stake in Vijay Mallya-led United Spirits. Analysts do not expect its open offer to shareholders to http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/5/08_05_13-buss23c.gifsucceed, leaving Diageo with around 30% of USL.

Walsh, 57, has not yet decided what his next move would be, a Diageo spokeswoman said.

Menezes’ presence at the helm is expected to help to underline the global credentials of the London-listed firm.

Menezes, formerly the head of Diageo North America, was made COO last year.

“We would not expect any significant change to strategy and see this as the natural ‘next step’ in Diageo leadership,” said Jefferies analyst Dirk Van Vlaanderen. “Ivan is a known quantity.”

In December, long-running talks to buy a stake in tequila brand Jose Cuervo had collapsed.

Emerging markets are seen as key for the firm that in its latest trading update last month, reported sales growth of 5% for the nine months to end-March, with a 4% decline in western Europe dragging on growth elsewhere.

Diageo's shares have nearly tripled under Walsh's reign, and have risen around 30% over the last year alone. They trade at 17.5 times expected earnings, equal to Pernod Ricard, the world’s number two spirits group.Reuters


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