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United States & World

Last Anheuser-Busch Executive Leaves InBev

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A Brazilian is taking over the U.S. operations of Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser-Busch is now owned by a Brazilian-Belgian beer conglomerate, InBev. The new president of the North America region, Luiz Edmond, is taking over from a second generation Anheuser-Busch employee, and St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippmann has more.

RACHEL LIPPMAN, BYLINE: Dave Peacock has led InBev's U.S. operations since the 2008 takeover. Since then, American sales have slipped. Earlier this month, a trade publication projected that in 2011 Coors Light had passed Budweiser as the second most popular beer brand in the United States. Beer Marketer's Insights says in three years, Budweiser's sales have dropped by more than four million barrels.

A memo about Peacock's retirement made no mention of those sales figures. Peacock, it said, resigned to spend more time with his family and pursue other business interests. He will remain an adviser to the company.

InBev's North American president, Luiz Edmond, the memo's author, will take over for Peacock. Edmond praised the former executive for helping the beer company weather the recession.

Industry analysts say there are some bright spots. The 2011 sales decline was the smallest since the takeover. And they say that InBev CEO Carlos Brito remains committed to growing the Budweiser brand in the United States, an effort supported by a new ad campaign. Peacock, who had been with the company since 1992, was once its vice president of marketing.

For NPR News, I'm Rachel Lippmann in St. Louis. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.