GLOBAL: Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, has announced significant changes to its organisational structure, including an overhaul of its senior marketing team.

The owner of the Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona brands said in a statement that it will slim down the number of its geographic management zones from nine to six, with the new structure taking effect from the beginning of January 2019.

“We are making these changes to more closely align with our consumers, make our company more agile in the zones, and proactively pursue growth opportunities,” the statement read.

Among a wide-ranging shake up of senior management positions, the company revealed that CMO Miguel Patricio will assume a new role of heading up marketing for special global projects.

He will report to CEO Carlos Brito with his former responsibilities taken over by Pedro Earp, who is currently chief disruptive growth officer but will now hold the dual role of chief marketing and ZX Ventures officer.

It means that ZX Ventures, the company’s global innovation unit that was set up in 2015 to help broaden its product range and improve its e-commerce capabilities, will align more closely with marketing.

However, AB InBev made it clear that “ZX Ventures will maintain its current independence in order to remain ahead of the curve, stay agile and invest in new products and experiences to address emerging consumer needs”.

Another significant move involves Lucas Herscovici, currently global marketing VP of strategic functions, who will become chief non-alcohol beverages officer with a focus on accelerating that area of AB InBev’s activities, which currently account for around 10% of its overall volume sales.

The changes come as the brewing giant, which is embedding its takeover of South African Breweries (SAB) from nearly two years ago, announced second-quarter earnings growth of 7% to $5.57bn on an adjusted basis before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.

Commenting on the changes to AB InBev’s top marketing team, Miguel Patricio told Advertising Age: “You change the roof of the house when it’s sunny, not when it’s raining. And it’s been very sunny for us.”

Sourced from AB InBev; additional content by WARC staff