The leadership at the Kenya-headquartered East African Breweries Limited (EABL) has changed as its majority owner Diageo seeks to revitalise growth in its African markets.
The company Saturday said Mr Devlin Hainsworth would be its Chief Executive Officer in a straight swap with Mr Seni Adetu who will be taking up the similar role in Nigeria from July 1.
Mr Adetu will assume the role of CEO Guinness Nigeria plc, currently headed by Mr Hainsworth and also majority owned by Diageo that holds a 50.03 per cent stake in EABL.
The need for growth has led to a broad shake-up of its executive suite over the past year, culminating in an increase in senior managers seconded from Diageo.
The company appointed Tracey Barnes in January as the finance director, Pennefather James (group strategy director) in October and Abbey Mark as group compliance and ethics director from Diageo.
Mr Adetu has headed EABL since July 2009 when he took over from Gerald Mahinda after serving as managing director of Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd.
"The chairman and board of East Africa Breweries Ltd wish to announce that as of 1st July 2012, Mr Seni Adetu…will move to Nigeria to assume the CEO role at Guinness Nigeria,” said a notice from EABL.
Guinness Nigeria generated sales equivalent to KSh68.7 billion ($828.2 million) in 2011 compared to EABL’s KSh44.8 billion ($540 million).
Mr Hainsworth, who holds a history degree from Cambridge, has been working for Diageo since 1999.
He takes up leadership at a time when the Diageo-led EABL is locked in a battle for control of the East Africa beer market with UK-listed brewer SAB Miller and Heineken.
The brewer is also facing threats on its sales in the Kenyan market as the industry settles to the new alcohol law that reduces the number of hours bars can operate.
Its cash position stood at KSh1.5 billion ($18 million) in December compared to Sh8 billion ($96.4 million) in July 2010 and its net profit increased 17.3 per cent to KSh4.8 billion ($57.9 million) in the six months to December.