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    Diageo plc announces that Sir Ivan Menezes has passed away

    Ivan Menezes

    Diageo has announced with great sadness that Sir Ivan Menezes, until recently the group CEO – and who received a knighthood for his services to business and to equality in the 2023 New Year Honours List – has passed away after surgery on a stomach ulcer.

    Indian-born Menezes, 63, died with his family at his side, Diageo said in a statement after revealing Monday that there had been complications after an emergency operation.

    “This is an incredibly sad day. Ivan was undoubtedly one of the finest leaders of his generation,” said Diageo plc Chairman Javier Ferrán.

    “Ivan was there at the creation of Diageo, and over 25 years shaped Diageo to become one of the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer companies. I saw first-hand his steadfast commitment to our people and to creating a culture that enabled everyone to thrive. He invested his time and energy in people at every level of the company and saw potential that others may have overlooked. This is one of many reasons why he was beloved by our employees, past and present.

    “Ivan’s energy and his commitment to diversity created a truly inclusive business and enabled Diageo to have a positive impact on the communities we serve. His passion for our brands was second-to-none and in his heart, he remained the Johnnie Walker marketer from his early days. The desire to build the world’s best brands never left him.

    “We are truly privileged to have had the opportunity to work alongside such a thoughtful and passionate colleague and friend – a true gentleman. He has built an extraordinary legacy.

    “Ivan leaves behind many friends and a beloved family, and our thoughts are particularly with his wife, Shibani and his two children, Nikhil and Rohini. On behalf of the Board, Executive Committee and all our employees, we extend our deepest sympathies to them.”

    Born in Pune, India, and a dual US-British citizen, Menezes had been leading Diageo, one the world’s largest alcoholic beverage companies, with sales in more than 180 countries and a portfolio of over 200 brands, from July 2013 as chief executive.

    He was one of Britain’s longest serving FTSE chief executives and is credited with transforming Diageo into the world’s leading premium drinks company, accounting for 10 per cent (£2 billion) of the UK’s total food and drinks exports.

    He joined the group in 1997, through the merger of Guinness plc and Grand Metropolitan plc, and held a number of senior positions in the business including COO and head of North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America and Caribbean regions.

    Menezes had been an executive director of Diageo since July 2012 and served as CEO since July 2013, overseeing an outstanding period of change, growth and high performance. He was due to retire in June, with COO Debra Crew taking over his position at the beginning of July, but the Board of Directors appointed her Interim Chief Executive Officer on Monday (5).

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