SBD/Issue 100/Sports Industrialists

Tapped Out: A-B Ad Guru Bob Lachky Stepping Down This Month

Lachky Says Decision Not
Related To InBev Acquistion
A-B InBev Exec VP/Global Industry Development & Chief Creative Officer Bob Lachky is stepping down from his role by the end of February, according to Suzanne Vranica of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Lachky: "I've chosen to move on and explore new challenges." A-B InBev will not replace Lachky, instead choosing to take a "more decentralized approach to marketing." Lachky said that InBev's acquisition of A-B last year has "nothing to do with his exit and was something he has been thinking about for a year." A-B President DAVE PEACOCK said it is a "generational transition." Vranica notes Lachky, who joined A-B in '89, has helped make the brewer "one of the most prolific marketers in the country." Lachky also is known as the "king of the Super Bowl, whose ad polls the brewer often wins" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/11). Lachky: "I just felt this was the perfect time for me to reevaluate" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/11). Lachky said his decision to step down "may seem" like it is related to InBev's acquisition. But Lachky said, "Not really. This is a good time for me to take stock" (NYTIMES.com, 2/10). Lachky received nearly $21M when InBev bought A-B last fall for $52B (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/11).

TAKING A LOOK AHEAD: AD AGE's Jeremy Mullman wrote Lachky's departure "will not be welcome news at A-B's roster of creative agencies, which regarded him as their primary client and a key personal relationship." DDB, Chicago, has served as A-B's agency since '94, and DDB Worldwide Chair & Chief Creative Officer Bob Scarpelli said, "It's going to be different without him there. I look at the work, the awards and how we helped to build those brands -- it's a remarkable record." Mullman noted in light of InBev's acquisition, it is "easy to view the departures" of Lachky and former A-B VP/Global Media & Sports Marketing Tony Ponturo, who left at the end of last year, as a "clear changing of the guard at A-B." But Lachky and Peacock stressed that the "new generation of leadership at the brewery largely consists of executives trained by the likes of the old guard" (ADAGE.com, 2/10). Ponturo desribed Lachky as a "creative genius." He added that Lachky "had an intuitive sense of the beer business" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/11). 

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