Interbrew shares rise after chief calls time early

Interbrew, the Belgian beer giant, surprised the industry yesterday by announcing that its chief executive was to go sooner than expected and be replaced by an outsider.

John Brock, the chief operating officer at Cadbury Schweppes, who recently lost out in the race for the top job, is to become Interbrew's new chief executive. He will succeed Hugo Powell, 58, in February who is leaving a year earlier than expected. Interbrew's beers include Stella Artois, Beck's and Hoegaarden.

Mr Powell, who has been at the helm for three years and has joint British and Canadian citizenship, led the company to a €3.5bn (£2.2bn) initial public offering. However, Interbrew's shares have since slumped after it was seen to over-pay for acquisitions, including the disastrous £2.3bn acquisition of Bass Brewers in the UK – regulators forced it to sell the business. There have also been operational problems over missing opportunities in the Russian markets and acquisition integration difficulties.

One analyst said: "It's a big surprise that this [Mr Powell's departure] has come so quickly. I'm also surprised that they went for someone outside the company. There'll have been several internal candidates."

Mr Powell has a six-year-old daughter from a second marriage and is retiring to Canada, after 19 years with Interbrew and Labatt. "1 December 2002 marked my 40th year in business.... It is now time to give priority to my family."

Interbrew's profile in the UK has been built through its acquisitions of Bass and Whitbread's brewing businesses and an extraordinary legal battle. The company tried to force several British media organisations, including The Independent, to hand over leaked documents which appeared to show Interbrew plotting a bid for South African Breweries.

The Belgian group eventually backed off earlier this year but not before the case came close to seeing some journalists jailed for refusing to hand over the papers.

The loss of Mr Brock, 54, was seen as a considerable blow. Andrew Wood, an analyst at Sanford C Bernstein in New York, said: "John's resignation comes the same week that Cadbury announced its $4.2bn (£2.6bn) acquisition of Adams, its largest acquisition and integration effort ever. We believe many investors, are already concerned about Cadbury's capability to manage such a large and risky integration."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003