APB reshuffle as senior execs quit

PHOTO: APB reshuffle as senior execs quit

SINGAPORE - Several senior executives are leaving - or have left - Asia Pacific Breweries (APB), signalling a shake-up at the maker of Tiger Beer, following its takeover by Dutch brewer Heineken.

Those who have left include APB's Indochina regional director Christopher Kidd, group finance director Loy Juat Boey and public relations head Sarah Koh.

Its regional director for South-east Asia and Oceania, Mr Leslie Buckley, has given notice but is staying on until a replacement is found, Heineken said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

It added that Mr Kidd and Ms Koh "have decided to leave the company and pursue their careers outside the company".

Heineken said: "Management changes are part of the ongoing business in any operation and we usually treat such changes in a very sensitive way."

Mr Kidd, 55, joined APB in 1994, a year before Mr Buckley.

He is said by people familiar with the situation to have been miffed when chief executive Roland Pirmez took over his portfolio as Indochina regional director, Today newspaper reported.

The report yesterday also said insider talk suggested there has been some unhappiness within APB since Heineken's takeover, with changes to reporting lines and final decisions being taken at Heineken's Dutch headquarters.

Asked if reporting lines had changed, Heineken told The Straits Times: "Not at all. The APB leadership team continues to report to APB CEO Roland Pirmez."

Most of Mr Kidd's responsibilities have been taken over by Mr Bennett Neo, a Singaporean, who is regional director for Singapore and Cambodia, Heineken said.

APB's operations in Vietnam now report directly to Mr Pirmez.

As for Ms Loy, Heineken said she "decided to go into earlier retirement". Mr Kenneth Choo, also director of regional finance and business development at Heineken Asia Pacific, takes over.

Ms Koh's departure leaves APB without a corporate relations director; in the interim the job will be done by Mr Michael Dickstein at Heineken's headquarters.

Heineken said that it has started looking for a "suitable successor with large functional expertise and business background as well as Asian roots or comprehensive regional experience".

It also said there were no concrete plans to move its office. Heineken is at Novena Square, while APB's headquarters are at Alexandra Point.

Heineken paid $5.6 billion last year to buy Fraser and Neave's 40 per cent stake in APB and some non-APB assets.