Diageo CEO points to big challenges

By Doug Newhouse |

Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes pointed to some real challenges ahead at last month’s 38th Impact Marketing Seminar as he highlighted WHO comments on alcohol.

The general thrust of his address should also serve as a wake up call for the DF&TR industry when it comes to facing the very real threats being monitored by the travel retail industry’s regional associations and the newly relaunched Duty Free World Council. [ETRC in particular has been very vocal about the threat of potential over regulation-Ed].

Menezes started his address by saying that Diageo’s commitment to commercial success is also matched by its commitment to preventing the misuse of alcohol and tackling irresponsible and under-age alcohol consumption.

He added that this is ‘a responsibility we take seriously’ and ‘always have’ and he then invited the audience to listen to a third party clip quote, which TRBusiness has reproduced in print here: “It is not just big tobacco anymore. Public health must also contend with big food, big soda and big alcohol. All these industries fear regulation and protect themselves by using the same tactics.

“When industry is involved in policy-making, rest-assured that the most effective control measures will be downplayed or left out entirely. This, too, is well documented, and dangerous”.

Menezes then addressed the audience: “The words we’ve just heard were written by the Director General of the World Health Organization [Margaret Chan-Ed]. They are provocative. I’m sure you agree. They were chosen very deliberately – both by her, and by me. They are a troubling perspective – at least in some quarters – about our industry.”


Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization.


Menezes said that while he might not agree that these were fair comments, the fact is that they do represent the views of the WHO and as such need to be taken seriously.

He then went on to describe in detail several initiatives being taken by the industry to address the problems of irresponsible drinking in particular, including the coordinated industry response to support governments in reducing alcohol misuse by 10% – a goal set out by all WHO member states as part of the efforts to reduce non-communicable diseases by 25% by 2025.

For any readers who are interested, Menezes’ full address to the Impact Seminar can be found at the following link: http://www.diageo.com/en-row/investor/Pages/resource.aspx?resourceid=2195


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