Diageo new CEO starts early amid Menezes surgery

Scotch Whisky and drinks giant Diageo plc announced that its new CEO Debra Crew has taken up the position a month earlier than expected, with outgoing chief executive Ivan Menezes in hospital recovering from emergency surgery.

Diageo said on Monday that Crew would commence as interim chief executive with immediate effect, ahead of her planned July 1 start date in the permanent role.

Debra Crew

The company said in a stock exchange statement: “Sir Ivan Menezes is currently in hospital receiving treatment for medical conditions including a stomach ulcer.

“Over the weekend, we learned that Ivan’s recovery suffered a significant setback due to complications, which followed emergency surgery on the ulcer. 

As a result of these developments, the board of directors has appointed Debra Crew interim chief executive officer with immediate effect, ahead of her appointment as chief executive officer and joining the board as an executive director on 1 July 2023.

“As previously announced, Ivan will retire from the board on 30 June 2023.

Our thoughts are with our much-loved colleague, Ivan, and his family.

Out of respect for Ivan and his family’s privacy, we will not be commenting further at this time.”

Diageo operates 28 malt distilleries, accounting for nearly one-third of the Scotch whisky industry’s total capacity, along with Scotland’s largest grain distillery at Cameronbridge.

Diageo’s leading whisky brand is Johnnie Walker, the best-selling blended Scotch in the world. It also owns many other brands including J&B and Bells, along with an array of single malts including Cardhu, Talisker, Mortlach and The Singleton.