Anheuser-Busch’s U.S. marketing chief Benoit Garbe has announced his resignation at the end of the year, following the company’s disastrous sales performance. The beer giant faced heavy backlash after its partnership with trans-identifying male influencer Dylan Mulvaney, which resulted in a widespread boycott and a sharp decline in sales.
Garbe, who has been in his position since 2021, will be leaving in order to pursue other opportunities in his career. In response to his resignation, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth stated, “these senior leadership changes will accelerate our return to growth as we continue to focus on what we do best – brewing great beer for everyone and earning our place in moments that matter.”
The company also announced that Kyle Norrington, the current Chief Commercial Officer, will be taking over Garbe’s duties starting next year. This decision comes as part of a larger restructuring within the organization, with the aim of streamlining the company’s operations and improving sales. The restructuring also follows the recent departures of Bud Light marketing VP Alissa Heinerscheid and group VP Daniel Blake, who were placed on leave amidst the controversy surrounding the Mulvaney campaign.
— New York Post (@nypost) November 16, 2023
The partnership with Mulvaney began earlier this year, when Bud Light signed him on as a spokesperson to promote its beer. However, the move backfired as many consumers expressed their displeasure and launched a boycott of the brand. As a result, Bud Light lost its long-held position as the top-selling beer in America, with sales plummeting across the country.
Mulvaney himself has also faced criticism for his role in the controversial campaign. He recently spoke out about the “hate and vitriol” he received, and called upon companies to have a genuine partnership with trans-identified individuals instead of using them for performative and profit-driven marketing tactics.
In his talk with Seth Matlins, managing director of the Forbes CMO Network, at the 2023 Forbes CMO Summit in Miami, Mulvaney stated, “If you’re going to ask us to capitalize on our vulnerabilities and our traumas, at least have our backs when the going gets tough.”
With Garbe’s resignation and the restructuring of its leadership team, Anheuser-Busch is aiming to rebound from the fallout of the Mulvaney campaign and regain its position as a top-selling beer company. Only time will tell if this new strategy will be successful in repairing the damage to the brand’s reputation and bringing back its consumers.