Het is vandaag 14 jaar geleden dan Freddy Heineken overleed en zijn dochter Charlene de Carvalho dus zijn opvolgster werd....
Heineken's Charlene de Carvalho: A self-made heiress
This story is from the December 22, 2014 issue of Fortune.
DECEMBER 3, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT
Charlene de Carvalho was a stay-at-home mom with five kids and no business education when, at age 47, she inherited control of Heineken. She decided to take on the challenge.
It was a gray day in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, in January 2002 when the London housewife and mother of five bid goodbye to Freddy Heineken. Charlene loathed fanfare as much as her father, a visionary businessman who had transformed a modest Dutch brewery into the world’s third-largest brewer. So this was a simple ceremony in an ordinary cemetery, with no funeral preceding it, attended only by Freddy’s secretary and his immediate family: Freddy’s wife, Lucille; his son-in-law, Michel; and 47-year-old Charlene.....as his only child and the sole heir to the Heineken fortune, she was inheriting about 100 million shares, equal to one-quarter of the company’s total stock outstanding. This 25% stake came with voting control, meaning that her single vote outweighed the votes of other investors on any board matter. Charlene had not thought much about her new responsibilities until that dreary morning at the cemetery. As she left her father’s grave, her husband put her on the spot. “Charlene, you have to make a decision within 10 days if you want to inherit the role that your father played.”...Perhaps you’ve never heard of Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, and that has suited her just fine. At age 60, she is one of the world’s wealthiest women, worth some $11 billion. Before she sat down with Fortune in Amsterdam for this story (DECEMBER 3, 2014), she had never spoken with the media. ....Michel’s proposition the day of Freddy’s burial was, she says, “my wake-up call.”
And in fact, the transfer of control from Freddy to his daughter was a wake-up call for Heineken too. Charlene and Michel, who is a Heineken director, called on the board to replace the then-CEO with a more aggressive leader. That man, Jean-François van Boxmeer, is still Heineken’s chief. Reversing Freddy’s risk aversion, which hampered Heineken’s growth in the old man’s later years, van Boxmeer has spent more than $28 billion on 49 acquisitions, extending Heineken’s operations from 39 countries in 2002 to 71 today. Heineken still ranks as the world’s No. 3 brewer, behind Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller, but sales have nearly tripled.....To understand Heineken and the woman who controls it, it helps to know a bit about the people who came before her. In 1864, Charlene’s great-grandfather, Gerard Adriaan Heineken, bought a small brewery, De Hooiberg, in Amsterdam and began brewing beer with a special yeast. Gerard had one son, Henry, who chaired Heineken for 23 years and lost family control of the company in 1942 when he sold shares to pay for taxes and brewery expansion. His son, Alfred, known as Freddy, started working at the brewer, carrying sacks of barley, at 18. In 1954, Freddy borrowed money and bought enough Heineken stock to regain family control. He created Heineken Holding NV, which owns 50.005% of Heineken NV, the operating company. CEO van Boxmeer notes that Heineken never suffered from siblings jockeying for control: This has been a family of mostly only children. “It’s not a very crowded legacy,” he says.
“I didn’t like the fact that my name was on every café.” Her father was a flamboyant salesman—he created Heineken’s green bottle and first TV advertising—but he preferred a simple life at home. Most evenings, Charlene and her parents would eat dinner on tray tables in the living room, in front of the TV. “Spaghetti and meatballs was all he wanted,” says Charlene about her father....Michel [de Carvalho] and Charlene married in London in the fall of 1983. Two days after they returned from their honeymoon in St. Croix and Virgin Gorda, something happened that would alter Charlene’s life dramatically.....For the next 21 days Charlene and her mother holed up with a squad of police and hostage negotiators at the seaside Heineken home in Noordwijk, 50 kilometers southwest of Amsterdam. “They asked for $20 million in unmarked bills...says Charlene. “We paid the $20 million and didn’t get Daddy back.” Finally, chasing a lead, the police stormed a warehouse north of Amsterdam one night. Behind a fake wall they found Freddy and his chauffeur chained to a concrete wall. They were hungry and exhausted but basically fine. Freddy later joked that he was tortured: “They made me drink Carlsberg.”
Freddy was an authoritarian boss who selected board members who would agree with him. “He had to be boss,” says Charlene. “Delegating was not his thing.” This became more of a problem as Freddy aged and became cautious and more tightfisted, in contrast to his adventurous youth. “I don’t think it was the kidnapping,” Charlene says. “I think he was just feeling slightly less king of the mountain.”
Meanwhile, the beer industry was brimming with big deals—SAB was expanding aggressively beyond its native South Africa, Belgium-based Interbrew (now part of AB InBev) bought Labatt for $2 billion—after Freddy Heineken wasn’t willing to pay up for the Canadian brand. “Labatt was a turning point in the industry,” says Charlene. “In retrospect, maybe we should have bought it.”
When Freddy died on Jan. 3, 2002, Heineken profit growth had slowed, and the stock was declining. Michel was worried, and his proposition to Charlene that day in the cemetery was not just about her stepping up; he knew he would have to as well..... “Many people assumed we would sell the business or screw it up,” says Michel. As the couple met with managers and investors around the world—initially, he more than she, since they had young children at home—they spent many hours at night comparing notes. “I’m finding it fascinating,” she recalls thinking....And so, when they saw Heineken missing opportunities in the global market, Charlene and Michel urged the board to replace CEO Thony Ruys. Then they helped evaluate internal candidates and settled on van Boxmeer, a scrappy operator who had joined Heineken in 1984, worked in several emerging markets, and led Heineken’s business in the Congo.
The 53-year-old van Boxmeer has stretched the balance sheet in ways that Freddy never would have. He led the acquisition of Edinburgh-based Scottish & Newcastle for $15.5 billion, in partnership with Carlsberg—a deal that fortified Heineken in the European beer market and gave it a major footprint in the fast-growing cider category. In 2010, Heineken bought Femsa Cerveza, Mexico’s second-largest brewer.
...This story is from the December 22, 2014 issue of Fortune.
Interessant zo'n kijkje in de keuken van Heineken. Het is en blijft dus toch een familiebrouwerij. Dat maakt het, de grootste familiebrouwerijbedrijf van de wereld aangezien, SABMiller en AB/InBev beiden megabedrijven (één) zijn geworden...