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
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This extremely successful and well-established...

Guru Careers: FX Trader / Risk Manager

Competitive with monthly bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced FX...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map