Craft Brew Alliance Inc. (CBA) announced that its board of directors approved a chief executive officer succession plan. Terry Michaelson has decided to transition out of his role as CBA’s chief executive officer at the beginning of next year, and the board has selected Andrew Thomas to serve as CBA’s chief executive officer effective Jan. 1, 2014.
Michaelson, who has served as chief executive officer of CBA since 2008 and held multiple senior leadership roles since 1994, will continue to actively support CBA as a senior adviser, helping to inform the development and implementation of key business initiatives, through the end of 2014.
Thomas joined CBA as president of commercial operations in 2011 after serving as an independent consultant to the company for 18 months. In his tenure at CBA, Thomas has been responsible for establishing the company’s unique national portfolio strategy that has propelled the company’s volume growth to 14 percent in the most recent quarter.
Commenting on the chief executive officer succession plan, Kurt Widmer, co-founder of Widmer Brothers Brewing and CBA’s chairman of the board, said: “The board has planned carefully for this succession, and we’re very proud of the progress and growth CBA has achieved under Terry’s exceptional leadership. Looking ahead, we are confident that CBA will continue to thrive with Andy at the helm. Andy has been instrumental in CBA’s growth and success over the past several years. His leadership advancing the company’s portfolio strategy and outstanding management skills have resulted in record-breaking momentum across brand families, channels and geographies. Additionally, his previous experience as chief executive officer for Heineken USA makes him the right person for the job.”
Thomas brings more than two decades of leadership experience in consumer packaged goods and the beer and beverage industries to his role as chief executive officer for CBA. He spent 12 years at Heineken International, working with brewers and beers in more than 55 countries across four continents, and served as president and chief executive officer of Heineken USA from 2005-2007. More recently, he served as an independent consultant and senior adviser to The Monitor Group.
In discussing the transition, Michaelson said, “The past few years have brought tremendous growth and opportunity for CBA, and I couldn’t be more pleased that the strategy we’ve been working to put in place is driving the level of success we’re seeing. I am very excited to see Andy step into this role and continue steering CBA into the next phase. His leadership, expertise and passion for bringing great craft beer experiences to consumers are evident in the exceptional position CBA is in today. He is a true beer lover and active champion for the continued evolution of our industry, and I look forward to supporting him and CBA’s growth during this exciting time.”
“I am honored to be given this incredible opportunity to serve in this new role. This is an exceptional and rare company to be part of – as I’ve often said, we combine the body of a large brewer with the soul of a craft brewer, which means that we’re able to do things and go places that many other craft brewers can’t,” Thomas said. “As I think about the future for CBA, I see tremendous opportunities to build on the strong platform and strategy Terry put in place. I want to thank Terry and our Board for their confidence in me, and I look forward to continue bringing the potential of our business and brands to life.”