Heineken to cut jobs in global shake-up By Andy Morton

Heineken is to reduce staffing levels as its streamlines its global business units from five to four and strips down its executive committee.

The Dutch brewer said today it has started a three-month consultation with employees that will end in an unspecified number of job cuts. A spokesperson told just-drinks: “There will be job losses, absolutely, but we don’t know at this stage how many.”

The cuts will primarily occur at Heineken’s head office and in its regional structures, “and not so much at the operating company level”, the spokesperson said.

The announcement comes as Heineken trims its global business units by one. The Dutch brewer, which last month reported flat full-year sales, said today that it will combine its Western and Central & Eastern Europe units into a single European unit. At the same time, Russia and Belarus will be spun off into Heineken’s Africa & Middle East division, renamed Africa Middle East & Eastern Europe.

The changes, operational from 1 July, will also see a shake-up of senior executives as Heineken’s executive committee is cut from 12 to ten.

Alexis Nasard, currently Heineken’s Western Europe head and CMO, will leave at the end of June “to meet his ambitions outside of the company”, Heineken said, without giving further details. Nasard, who previously worked for Proctor & Gamble, joined Heineken in 2009 as group commerce director.

Bernstein analyst Trevor Stirling said today that Nasard is well-regarded within Heineken but is “clearly ambitious”. It is possible he is moving on because CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer will likely stay in his role “for at least several more years”, Stirling said.

Meanwhile, Heineken’s Africa Middle East head, Siep Hiemstra, will leave the company “as planned” in August when he turns 60. Hiemstra joined Heineken in 1978 and has been in his current role since 2011.

Heineken will also phase out its chief strategy officer role. Chris Barrow, who is currently serving in the role, will leave the company in July, Heineken said. Barrow joined the brewer in 2004 and has previously worked as Heineken’s MD for Latin America and president for Brazil.

Bernstein’s Stirling said the axing of the chief strategy role, and Heineken’s decision to return the proceeds of its recent Empaque disposal, “is consistent with our view that there is very little transformational M&A to be done in the near-term for the majors”.

Other moves include:

  • Stefan Orlowski, president for the Americas region, will lead the new Europe unit
  • Roland Pirmez, president for Asia Pacific, will lead the new Africa Middle East & Eastern Europe region
  • Marc Busain, MD for Mexico, will become president of the Americas region
  • Frans Eusman, chief business services officer, will take over as the president of Asia Pacific
  • Global business services functions will transfer to Heineken’s CFO
  • Jan Derck van Karnebeek, president of Central & Eastern Europe and chief sales officer, will become chief commercial officer, a role that combines the current posts of CMO and chief sales officer


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