SABMiller and Molson Coors announce MillerCoors management succession

Posted: 27 April 2011 | SABMiller plc | No comments yet

SABMiller plc and Molson Coors Brewing Company announced the appointment of MillerCoors President and Chief Commercial Officer Tom Long as the company’s new CEO…

SABMiller plc and Molson Coors Brewing Company announced the appointment of MillerCoors President and Chief Commercial Officer Tom Long as the company's new CEO...

With a strong foundation for organic growth firmly in place at their U.S. joint venture, SABMiller plc (SAB.L) and Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE: TAP; TSX) today announced the appointment of MillerCoors President and Chief Commercial Officer Tom Long as the company’s new chief executive officer following the decision of current CEO Leo Kiely to retire effective June 1, 2011.

“Tom is a seasoned and thoughtful business leader perfectly suited to take the reins from Leo and lead the next chapter of growth and development at MillerCoors,” said Peter H. Coors, chairman of the board, Molson Coors Brewing Company. “A veteran of the U.S. and global beverage business, Tom has over two decades of experience in senior sales, marketing and general management roles. In his current role, Tom has delivered significant progress against all of our commercial goals since the launch of MillerCoors in July 2008.”

Long’s succession as CEO and Kiely’s retirement are consistent with plans made in late 2007 when Molson Coors and SABMiller originally struck the deal to form MillerCoors with the goal of creating a stronger, more competitive U.S. brewer. The two leaders have shared duties in the Office of the CEO and President since September of 2010 in preparation for this move.

“Tom brings extensive experience to the table having served previously as chief executive officer and chief marketing officer of Miller Brewing Company,” said SABMiller Chief Executive Graham Mackay. “He is a savvy operator with a keen intellect and boundless energy. It is gratifying to see his partnership with Leo produce the kind of orderly and smooth management succession that we envisioned during the integration planning process.”

Prior to joining Miller Brewing Company in 2005, Long spent 17 years at The Coca-Cola Company, serving in key roles including president of the company’s Northwest Europe Division, global vice president and director of strategic marketing, and vice president of national sales in the U.S. He holds a master’s of business administration from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“I’m excited to take on the challenge of leading MillerCoors in the next phase of our journey to create America’s best beer company,” Long said. “I want to thank Leo for his leadership and partnership over the past three years. His wisdom, guidance and good judgment have left an indelible mark on MillerCoors and the strong foundation he has put in place will form the basis for growth and success across the MillerCoors network.”

Kiely’s successful tenure as the first CEO of MillerCoors punctuates a career marked by major accomplishments that helped transform the face of the U.S. beer industry. Kiely joined Coors Brewing Company as chief operating officer in 1993 and was instrumental in the acquisition of what is now Molson Coors UK. Known for his heads-in management style, affable personality and keen knowledge of the beer business, Kiely led the merger of Adolph Coors Company and Molson Inc. in 2005 and then became president and chief executive officer of the new Molson Coors Brewing Company.

“Leo has successfully guided the integration and start up of the new company, building a rock solid foundation that positions us to achieve our long-term vision of creating America’s best beer company,” Coors said. “While reliably delivering our promised synergies, strengthening the core positioning of our brands and greatly increasing pricing and profitability, Leo has coached and developed a unified management team that we believe is the best in the U.S. beer business.”

At the helm of MillerCoors, Kiely delivered ahead of schedule on the company’s promise of $500 million in synergies and put it well on track to deliver another $250 million in additional cost savings. In 2009, MillerCoors achieved EBITA of over $1 billion for the first time.

“It’s been an honor and privilege to lead the winning team at MillerCoors,” Kiely said. “I have always believed that people make it happen in the beer business and it’s been a pleasure to see the passion, pride and bias for action that our folks bring to their work every day. I could not be more proud of the accomplishments we have made together as a team and I am excited that Tom will now have the opportunity to lead the company as our next CEO. It’s the right time for a change, we have a great team, and Tom is the right guy for the top job.”

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