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Paul Walsh to step down from Diageo

Paul Walsh, CEO of Diageo, has announced his retirement from the company in June 2014, with current COO Ivan Menezes stepping into his shoes this July.

Paul-Walsh Diageo CEO
Paul Walsh, CEO of Diageo, will hand over the reigns to Ivan Menezes over the next 12 months

Walsh, who has headed the world’s largest drinks group since 2000, will step down from the Board at the September 2013 Annual General Meeting, with a view to retire completely on 30 June 2014.

His role over the next 12 months will be to transition “critical partner and external relationships” to Menezes, who will become Diageo CEO from 1 July 2013.

In a statement released this morning, Walsh said: “It has been a privilege to lead this great company. Diageo is one of the world’s leading businesses, a position it has earned through the efforts of every one of its talented people, who are passionate about our brands, our contribution to society and our performance.

“The pivotal role which Ivan has played in building this position for the business demonstrates that he is the right person to lead Diageo on the next stage of its journey.”

Menezes, who has been chief operating officer at Diageo since March 2012, added that Walsh is leaving behind him “a fantastic legacy”.

“I feel privileged to take on the leadership of the Diageo team. This is a very exciting time of great opportunity for our company. I look forward to building on the fundamental strengths of our business – our wonderful world leading brands, our superior routes to market, and our committed and talented people.”

Franz Humer, chairman of Diageo, expressed the Board’s gratitude for Walsh’s “ambitious and thoughtful stewardship of the business and its people”.

“The transition process which has been put in place enables Paul to contribute his knowledge and experience during Ivan’s first year as chief executive officer,” he said.

“We are delighted to have a leader of Ivan’s talents and global experience to succeed Paul.  The handover is being made at a time when the business is strong and Ivan takes on the role of CEO at an exciting stage of the company’s global development.  The Board is confident that Ivan will inspire our organisation and Diageo will continue to achieve our medium-term performance objectives.”

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