Millercoors today announced that its 56-year-old CEO, Tom Long, plans to retire this summer. His last day with the country’s second-largest beer company will be June 30.
“I am leaving a company and a team, both of which are stronger than they have ever been,” Long said in a press statement. “MillerCoors is in position to capitalize on the changing forces within the U.S. beer industry more decisively than ever and my team has the passion, conviction, creativity and business plan to win in the long term in this industry.”
Long’s successor hasn’t been named but a MillerCoors board of directors is “actively engaged” in searching for a replacement, saidPete Marino, the company’s chief communication officer.
“We intend to have someone in place by June 30, but if we don’t, we will lean on the rest of senior leadership team,” he told Brewbound.
Long – who previously served as the chief marketing officer for Miller Brewing Company in 2005 — was named CEO of Miller in 2006 and was instrumental in helping to create the MillerCoors joint venture in 2008, said Marino. That year, London-based SABMiller and Montreal-based Molson Coors agreed to combine their U.S. divisions — Miller Brewing and Coors Brewing. Long was named as the chief commercial officer of the new joint venture and would later be named CEO of the division in 2011.
Long’s decision to step down was personal, Marino said, and the CEO plans to “return to the South where both he and his wife have friends and family.”
MillerCoors has now lost three key executives in the last eight months.
Jake Leinenkugel, the longtime president of the MillerCoors-owned Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing, part of the company’s Tenth & Blake craft division, stepped down last September. His brother, Dick Leinenkugel, was immediately named as the successor.
Three months earlier, Tom Cardella, the president and CEO of Tenth & Blake, announced his retirement. MillerCoors tapped former Coors Distributing Company president Scott Whitley as Cardella’s replacement.
Marino maintains that the recent executive transitions have not hindered the MillerCoors’ day-to-day business operations, but the company’s latest earnings report, released today, casts a slightly different picture.
While net income grew 2.9 percent in 2014, the company’s fourth quarter incomes decreased 11.8 percent, to $213 million, due to lower shipment volumes and higher marketing investments. MillerCoors’ sales-to-retail volumes, as well as sales-to-wholesalers, both dipped 2.5 percent on the year.
A bright spot for MillerCoors, however, was a Tenth & Blake portfolio that includes offerings like Blue Moon and Leinenkugel Shandies. Blue Moon grew “low single digits” for the year and in the fourth quarter, according to a release. Leunenkugel’s, meanwhile, grew mid-single digits for the year.