Diageo, One of the World's Largest Alcohol Companies, Appoints Its First Female CEO

Diageo, the company behind famous brands such as Guinness and Johnnie Walker, has appointed Debra Crew as its new CEO starting from July 1. Currently serving as the company’s chief operating officer, Crew will take over from Ivan Menezes, who has held the position for ten years. Women will make up more than 50% of Diageo’s executive committee with her appointment.

Diageo will become the largest UK company listed on the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index to be led by a woman. Diageo is now the seventh-largest member of the FTSE 100, with only nine other companies led by women. In addition, Diageo was ranked the top company for women’s representation at the board level in the FTSE Women Leaders Review in February 2023.

The crew joined Diageo in 2019 as a non-executive director before becoming president of Diageo North America in July 2020. With a market value of $19 billion and $4.2 billion in profits in 2022, Forbes ranks Diageo as the fourth-largest alcoholic drink company. The crew has years of experience and expertise in the industry, having previously held leadership positions at PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Nestlé S.A., and Mars, Inc. She was also CEO of the tobacco company Reynolds American and an officer in the United States Army.

Crew’s appointment reflects Diageo’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The company has set ambitious targets to increase gender representation and diversity across all levels of the organization. The company’s gender pay gap report for 2021 showed progress, decreasing from 9.8% to 7.5%. However, work must still be done to achieve full gender parity.

In a statement, Crew said she was honoured to take on the CEO role and looks forward to leading the company through its next growth phase. Diageo’s chairman, Javier Ferrán, praised Crew’s leadership qualities, experience, and track record of delivering results, saying she was the ideal candidate to lead Diageo into the future. She also highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusion in driving business success.

Overall, Crew’s appointment as CEO of Diageo is a significant milestone for the company and the industry. With her wealth of experience and commitment to diversity and inclusion, she is poised to lead Diageo to greater success in the years ahead.

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