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Guinness-Maker Diageo Appoints First Woman CEO Debra Crew

The maker of Guinness and Johnnie Walker is cracking one open for the ladies.

Diageo, which owns the iconic beer and whisky brands — and 200 others — announced that Debra Crew will be stepping up as CEO on July 1.

Crew, who is currently the company’s chief operating officer, will succeed Ivan Menezes after 10 years on the job, according to a press release. The transition of power means women will now make up more than 50% of Diageo’s executive committee.

The appointment will also make Diageo the largest UK company listed on the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index to be led by a woman, according to CNN. Diageo is currently the seventh-largest member of the FTSE 100 (UKX) with only nine other woman-led companies listed. Furthermore, Diageo was named the top company for woman representation at the board level in the FTSE Women Leaders Review in February 2023.

Diageo is the fourth-largest alcoholic drink company by market value, with $19 billion in revenue and $4.2 billion in profits in 2022, according to Forbes.

Crew brings years of expertise to the position. She first joined Diageo in 2019 as its board’s non-executive director before stepping down to assume the role of president of Diageo North America in July 2020.

Before her time at Diageo, Crew was CEO of tobacco company Reynolds American, and she’s held leadership roles at PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Nestlé S.A. and Mars, Inc, according to the press release. Additionally, she served as an officer in the United States Army and has an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

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