BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Anheuser-Busch InBev’s <ABI.BR> long-time Chief Executive Carlos Brito dismissed speculation about an imminent departure, telling Reuters on Thursday that he expected to be leading the world’s largest brewer for some time to come.
The Financial Times reported in September that the company had started searching for a replacement for Brito and that he was involved in the process and planned to step down at some point next year.
Brito, who has been in charge for 16 years, told Reuters he expected to remain chief executive for “many quarters” to come.
“There’s a whole bunch of rumours. We didn’t confirm any of that, so just rumours like any others,” he said in a phone interview after the company’s third-quarter results.
“The two of us are going to continue to talk about results for the next many quarters. So don’t worry about that. You’re not going to get rid of me.”
Brito said the company looked into “succession planning” every year and had stepped up its efforts in light of the pandemic, such as contingency planning in case top executives were laid up for a month or more in hospital with COVID-19.
“We do this exercise all the time, including for my position. We do that normally in October. This year we did it in March and April because of COVID. Any responsible company would do that to be ready for possible events,” he said. “This year we did it twice because of the COVID event.”
AB InBev reported on Thursday a drop in third-quarter profit and scrapped its interim dividend after a shift to drinking at home pushed up its costs.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Susan Fenton)