Guinness Nigeria Plc, a subsidiary of Diageo Plc, has announced a change in the leadership of the company.
Current Managing Director/CEO, Mr. John O’Keeffe has been promoted President, Diageo Africa, joining the Diageo Executive Committee and reporting to Dr. Nick Blazquez, President Africa and Asia.
A statement from the Quadrant Company said Mr. O’Keeffe’s new appointment will take effect from July 1, 2015.
John will bring a breadth of marketing and general management experience to the Executive team, having, in addition to his Nigeria role, led Diageo’s Global Innovation, Beer and Baileys categories, served as Managing Director for the Russia and Eastern Europe business and undertaken senior marketing roles across multiple European markets and Jamaica.
The Managing Directors of Diageo’s 4 African markets (Nigeria, South Africa, East Africa and African Regional Markets – rest of Africa), as well the Regional Finance Director, Africa, will report to John.
Since his resumption as Guinness Nigeria’s Managing Director/CEO in November 2014, Mr. O’Keeffe’s has been engaged primarily with sustaining the recovery of the business, building a fit for purpose commercial organisation and improving employee morale and engagement.
Growing and broadening our innovation portfolio has also been a key area of focus for Mr. O’Keeffe. Under his leadership, the improvement in the performance of the business has accelerated.
Mr. O’Keeffe will continue as a Non-Executive Director of Guinness Nigeria and as the Diageo executive responsible for Diageo’s African business, will continue to stay involved with the Nigerian business.
Guinness Nigeria has also announced the appointment of Mr. Soren Lauridsen as Mr. O’Keeffe’s successor.
Mr. Lauridsen joins Diageo from Carlsberg and brings with him considerable experience in the beer category and knowledge of emerging markets.
During his 10 year career at Carlsberg, Mr. Lauridsen held senior leadership roles including Regional CEO of South Asia, based in Bangkok and Managing Director for Carlsberg India.
He also has leadership experience of working for Carlsberg in Laos and Poland. Prior to working at Carlsberg, he worked as Category Director for Orkla Foods covering Nordics and Eastern Europe for 3 years and held several leadership positions in Unilever Foods for 13 years.

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