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Beerworkers Archive


Post date: 04/28/2011 - 17:59

MillerCoors Names Tom Long New CEO

Mr. Long, now president and chief commercial officer, will assume the post June 1, when CEO Leo Kiely retires.The succession was expected to take place in June, but the company and Mr. Kiely remained mum on the timing, including during the brewer's annual distributor meeting in March. Their silence and the lagging sales of the core Miller brands helped fuel speculation on whether and when Mr. Long, CEO of Miller Brewing Co. before the merger, would ultimately take over the top spot.

Mr. Long, now president and chief commercial officer, will assume the post June 1, when CEO Leo Kiely retires.The succession was expected to take place in June, but the company and Mr. Kiely remained mum on the timing, including during the brewer's annual distributor meeting in March. Their silence and the lagging sales of the core Miller brands helped fuel speculation on whether and when Mr. Long, CEO of Miller Brewing Co. before the merger, would ultimately take over the top spot.

We expect little disruption near term and watch for improving combined trends for Coors Light and Miller Lite as a key measure of Mr. Long's effectiveness,” Mark Swartzberg, a beverage analyst at Baltimore-based Stifel Nicolaus & Co., said in an investor note. “For several years, Miller Lite has been in significant decline, but in recent months the pace of decline has moderated to flat in March 2011, while Coors Light has maintained superior growth."

Mr. Swartzberg also noted that, with Mr. Kiely, Mr. Long has also overseen a three-year cost-cutting campaign that beat initial targets and reaped savings earlier than expected.

The company said in a news release that the succession follows plans set in late 2007, when Denver-based Molson Coors Brewing Co. and London-based SABMiller PLC formed the joint venture. Messrs. Kiely and Long have prepared for the move by sharing duties since September 2010.

“Tom brings extensive experience to the table, having served previously as chief executive officer and chief marketing officer of Miller Brewing Co.,” SABMiller CEO Graham Mackay said in a news release. “He is a savvy operator with a keen intellect and boundless energy. It is gratifying to see his partnership with Leo produce the kind of orderly and smooth management succession that we envisioned during the integration planning process.”

Before joining Miller Brewing in 2005, Mr. Long, 52, spent 17 years at Coca-Cola Co., where his jobs included president of the company's Northwest Europe division, global vice-president and director of strategic marketing, and vice-president of national sales in the U.S. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Mr. Kiely, 64, joined Coors Brewing Co. as chief operating officer in 1993 and helped acquired Molson Coors UK. He led the merger of Adolph Coors Co. and Molson Inc. in 2005 and became president and CEO of the new Molson Coors Brewing Co.

“Leo has successfully guided the integration and startup of the new company, building a rock solid foundation that positions us to achieve our long-term vision of creating America's best beer company,” Peter Coors, chairman of the board of Molson Coors Brewing, said in the release