Miller Brewing Gets Executive From Main Rival as President
NEW YORK (AP) _ Philip Morris Companies Inc. hired away a top executive from beer industry leader Anheuser-Busch Inc. on Monday to become president of its Miller Brewing Co., the nation’s second biggest brewer.
John N. MacDonough, who has been with Anheuser-Busch since 1977 and most recently was executive vice president-marketing in the international division, also was named chief operating officer at Milwaukee-based Miller.
Anheuser-Busch said it viewed the ″impressive promotion″ as a compliment to its own executive system and depth.
Industry watchers said executive moves at this high a level between competing companies are relatively rare in the beer business.
Ben Steinman, president of the trade newsletter publisher Beer Marketer’s Insights in West Nyack, N.Y., said the last comparable move he could recall was about 15 years ago when Frank Sellinger moved from a top production post at Anheuser-Busch to head the Schlitz brewing company.
″We are delighted to have Jack MacDonough stepping into one of the key leadership positions in the company,″ said William Murray, president and chief operating officer of Philip Morris Companies.
He said MacDonough ″will clearly make an important contribution to Miller’s continued growth.″
In the statement, MacDonough, 48, was quoted as calling the new job ″a unique assignment″ and said he had ″the greatest respect for my new colleagues at Miller and look forward to beginning immediately.″
MacDonough was said to be in meetings at Miller headquarters with officers, employees and customers and unavailable for comment on his new job.
In response to requests for comment on the move, the St. Louis-based brewer issued a terse statement from John Purnell, chairman and chief executive of its international division.
″Anheuser-Busch’s executive turnover is very low. We view this impressive promotion as a compliment to Anheuser-Busch’s system abnd to our depth in quality personnel,″ Purnell said.
MacDonough’s path to Miller’s boardroom was opened by the previously announced plans of Leonard Goldstein, 65, to retire as chairman of Miller Brewing.
Warren Dunn, who has been president and chief executive at Miller, is taking on the chairman’s title while dropping the job of president.
MacDonough’s career in the beer and food business began in 1968 when he joined General Mills Inc. He left to become a marketing manager at Anheuser- Busch in 1977.
The move also comes at a weak moment in the beer business. Steinman of Beer Marketer’s Insights said industry shipments were up only about 2 percent for the first six months of the year. He blamed poor weather and a tough economy.
He said Anheuser-Busch’s domestic shipments were up about 1.7 percent for the first half while Miller’s shipments were down about 1 percent.
Miller is about half the size of Anheuser-Busch, controlling about 22.4 percent of the market in 1991 to 44.2 percent for Anheuser-Busch, according to etsimates from the trade publication Impact from M. Shanken Communications.
Robert S. Weinberg, a St. Louis-based consultant to the brewing industry, said Miller appears to be betting that MacDonough can function well in the Miller culture and that MacDonough was responsible for some of Anheuser- Busch’s success.
Weinberg said he didn’t think MacDonough would carry valuable secrets to his new job. ″There are very few real marketing secrets″ in the beer business, he said.