Global spirits company Diageo (LON:DGE) announced on Monday that Debra Crew, the CEO-designate, will temporarily assume the top leadership position as Ivan Menezes undergoes medical treatment. Menezes, who had planned to retire at the end of the month, is currently in the hospital receiving treatment for various conditions, including a stomach ulcer, according to a company statement.
Diageo, known for its popular brands such as Johnnie Walker whisky, Tanqueray gin, and Don Julio tequila, had appointed Crew in March as Menezes’ successor, making her one of the few women leading a company in the prestigious FTSE 100 index.
Effective immediately, Crew will take on the interim role and will officially join the board as an executive director on July 1, as stated by Diageo on Monday. Having previously served as the operating chief and president of Diageo North America, Crew brings valuable experience to the position, especially in the company’s largest market.
Crew’s appointment as CEO comes at a crucial time for Diageo, as it strives to solidify its market dominance in the United States and establish various premium brands in a post-COVID world. The company has been focused on growth and sustainability, undergoing multiple brand acquisitions and implementing significant sustainability initiatives under Menezes’ leadership.
In response to the setback in Menezes’ recovery, Diageo expressed its respect for his privacy and stated that no further comments would be made at this time. The London-listed firm’s shares have experienced a decline of approximately 7% so far this year.