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Miller beer president steps down
SAB Exec Norman Adami to Replace John Bowlin at Struggling Brewer

SABMiller today announced a new president-CEO for its struggling North American Miller Brewing Co. following the resignation of Miller President John Bowlin.

Norman Adami, currently chairman-managing director of South African Breweries Ltd., will take over for Mr. Bowlin, who is resigning effective Feb. 1. Mr. Adami has been with SAB for 20 years, leading the South African brewing operations for nine years. It has been speculated that once he is in place, Mr. Adami will name new managers at Miller as London-based SAB tries to revive the struggling brewer.

"I am confident that he will add value and help to ensure that we achieve our collective aspirations for success in the USA," SABMiller CEO Graham MacKay said of Mr. Adami.

Agency fate uncertain
The fate of Miller’s advertising agencies — including independent Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., and WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and J. Walter Thompson, both Chicago and New York, as well as sibling Y&R Advertising, Chicago — is uncertain

SAB acquired Miller from the Philip Morris Cos. last summer. Miller represents about half of the new company’s business.

Philip Morris veteran
Mr. Bowlin, a veteran of former Miller parent Philip Morris Cos., went to Miller in 1999 to help revive the company that has seen market share erode and sales slump for its major brands. As recently as last fall following the acquisition, he had pledged to stay, though industry watchers said that was unlikely considering how Miller has faltered.

SABMiller is the world’s No. 2 brewer after Anheuser-Busch Cos. Market share last year fell another 0.6% to 19% of the U.S. beer category, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights newsletter. Sales peaked in 1994 at 45 million barrels, while last year’s volume was 39.9 million barrels, a 12% slide, according to the newsletter.

Hillary Chura

AdAge.com - 14 January 2003
 
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