Indian-origin Ivan Menezes named Diageo CEO

London, May 7 (IANS) British liquor giant Diageo has appointed Indian-origin Ivan Menezes as its next chief executive officer.

The Britain-based, world's biggest spirits group and maker of brands like Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker scotch and Guinness beer, said in a statement Tuesday that Menezes would take over as CEO with effect from July 1 this year.

Outgoing CEO Paul Walsh will step down from the company's board in the annual general meeting in September and will retire from the company June 30, 2014.

"We are delighted to have a leader of Ivan's talents and global experience to succeed Paul," Diageo chairman Franz B. Humer said in the statement.

"The handover is being made at a time when the business is strong and Ivan takes on the role of CEO at an exciting stage of the company's global development. The board is confident that Ivan will inspire our organisation and Diageo will continue to achieve our medium-term performance objectives," he added, while expressing gratitude to Walsh for the services he rendered to the company.

The 53-year-old Menezes now joins the likes of Indra Nooyi, Ajay Banga and Rakesh Kapoor as Indian-origin chief executives of Fortune 500 companies.

An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Menezes was appointed chief operating officer of Diageo in March 2012 and then made a director in July 2012.

Menezes, who started his career with Nestle India in 1981, had served in various positions in companies like Booz-Allen & Hamilton and Whirlpool.

Throughout his carrier, he has progressively been handed out key assignments in various international markets spanning across Asia-Pacific, North America and Europe.

Menezes was heading Guinness United Distillers and Vintners' business as its managing director and president for venture markets when the latter merged with Grand Metropolitan to create Diageo in 1997.

Menezes played a key role in the new entity as its group integration director and since then held senior positions in the company's operations in Asia-Pacific, Latin America, North America and Caribbean regions.

Last year, Menezes was instrumental in the buy-out of liquor baron Vijay Mallya's United Spirits Ltd (USL) by Diageo. He is said to be behind the smooth transaction in which Diageo agreed to buy out 53.4 percent in USL for the $2 billion (Rs.11,166.5 crore) deal.

Menezes holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from St. Stephen's College, a post graduate diploma from IIM-Ahmedabad and an MBA (Master of Business Administration) from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

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