Search For Next AB InBev CEO Reportedly Underway After Brito's Long Stretch In C-Suite

Global beer giant Anheuser Busch Inbev NV BUD is searching for a new CEO and may pick someone from outside the company, Financial Times reported.

What Happened: Carlos Brito's reign as CEO of Budweiser and Stella Artois' parent company seems to be coming to an end after a decade-and-a-half. The Brazilian executive could be replaced with an outsider, a notable move for a beer company that prides itself on a homegrown culture, sources told Financial Times.

One source told the publication that Brito is participating with the board in selecting his replacement and plans to step down next year. The CEO is likely to join the board once he steps down, FT said.

AB InBev has just one insider it is considering to take over the CEO title, according to the report: Michel Doukeris.

The head of North America's Anheuser-Busch business is the last remaining internal candidate, according to FT, with chief strategy officer David Almeida and chief marketing officer Pedro Earp no longer in the running.

Why It's Important: Ab InBev has parted ways with several high-ranking executives. Finance chief Felipe Dutra stepped down in February, and Chairman Olivier Goudet stepped down last year.

The executive shuffle comes at a time when the beer giant is dealing with a heavy debt load from its $102-billion takeover of SABMiller. The debt load of $87.4 billion translates to 4.9 times earnings.

Shares of AB InBev are down more than 60% from their 2015 highs, and the company slashed its dividend in half in April.

What's Next: Any future CEO would need to be approved by major shareholders, including the former controlling families of Interbrew and the three founders of 3G Capital.

BUD shares were down 4.64% at $55.74 at the close Tuesday.

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Posted In: alcoholBeerBudweiserCarlos BritoFinancial TimesNewsManagementMedia