India-born Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes passes away; some facts about man behind Johnnie Walker ‘Keep Walking’ campaign

India-born Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes passes away; some facts about man behind Johnnie Walker ‘Keep Walking’ campaign

Photo : ET Now Digital

India-born British and American business executive, Sir Ivan Manuel Menezes, who served as the Chief Executive Officer of global liquor major Diageo plc for 10 years, passed away on Wednesday after a brief illness, the company confirmed. Menezes, 63, who was due to retire at the end of this month was widely regarded as one of the finest leaders of his generation.
Born on July 10, 1959, in Pune, Ivan Menezes held UK and US citizenships as well as the Overseas Citizenship for India. He was recently hospitalized in London for a stomach ulcer and faced complications following emergency surgery.

Ivan Menezes played a pivotal role in shaping Diageo, transforming it into one of the best-performing and most respected consumer companies worldwide. Having joined the company at its inception in 1997, he held numerous senior positions throughout his illustrious career spanning over 25 years. Ivan’s strategic expertise and leadership abilities led to significant achievements, including the development of the iconic “Keep Walking” campaign for Johnnie Walker when he was the marketing head of the company. Before Diageo, he served in other consumer companies like Whirlpool and Nestle.

Apart from his remarkable contributions to Diageo, Menezes also demonstrated a deep commitment to fostering diversity and inclusivity in the corporate world. Under his guidance, Diageo made significant progress in gender and ethnic diversity within its leadership positions. Over half of the Executive Committee comprises women, including his successor as CEO, the CFO, and the Presidents of Diageo’s largest markets.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Menezes displayed exceptional corporate social responsibility by overseeing the production of more than 10 million bottles of hand sanitizer for healthcare workers worldwide. This initiative played a crucial role in supporting frontline workers and addressing the shortage of essential supplies.

Outside of his professional endeavors, Ivan Menezes was actively involved in philanthropic activities. He was a long-standing donor to Pratham, a charity focused on promoting literacy and providing education to underprivileged children in India.

Menezes’ untimely demise is mourned not only within the Diageo community but also across the business landscape. His legacy as a visionary leader and champion for diversity will endure, leaving an indelible mark on the industry. The thoughts and sympathies of Diageo’s Board, Executive Committee, and employees go out to Ivan’s wife Shibani and their two children, Nikhil and Rohini, during this difficult time.

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