Inbev shakes up UK operations

Stella Artois brewer Inbev has made some major changes to its UK and Ireland business in an effort to “get closer to the needs of customers”.

The brewer’s “flatter” structure has been introduced by new president Stuart MacFarlane and comes at a time when British beer sales are declining and two of Inbev’s major rivals, Scottish & Newcastle and Heineken, are combining their UK operations.

The Inbev UK business is being split into six divisions: Scotland; Ireland; England & Wales on-trade independents; on-trade multiples; off-trade independents; and off-trade multiples.

Board changes include the appointment of Simon Harrison as commercial director for the independent off-trade. Steve Kitching, who had been managing director for commercial and field operations, has left the business.

MacFarlane, who rejoined the company earlier this year from Inbev’s global headquarters in Belgium, said: “I believe this new structure and strengthened board will provide us with the streamlined approach and brand-building expertise to improve our business performance going forward.”

Inbev is currently bidding for US brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, a deal which would create the world’s largest brewing group.