Case Study

AB InBev: Dream, people, culture, and cost

6 pages
March 2015
Reference: IMD-7-1662

When InBev took over Anheuser-Busch in 2008, creating AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, the culture of Anheuser-Busch was to change dramatically. This change was entirely predictable. To know what was coming, August Busch IV and his managers needed only to look at what “os três do Garantia”, the Brazilian investment trio that called themselves 3G—Jorge Paulo Lemann, Marcel Herman Telles and Alberto “Beto” Sicupira—had done with every company they had gained control over in the past 25 years. There would be a relentless focus on costs, the establishment of an intense meritocracy, and a radical informality and openness symbolized by the smashing down of executives’ office walls to have them work side-by-side at large tables, their metrics posted publicly for all to see. This is what had happened when 3G’s Brazilian brewer Ambev merged with the Belgian Interbrew to create InBev. It is what had happened before that to Antarctica when they were bought by 3G’s Brahma to create Ambev. And it is what had happened to Brahma when they were bought by Garantia in 1989 and 3G first entered the business of making beer. “We have only one ‘trick’,” Marcel Telles says about how 3G improves the performance of their businesses, “which is to put in good people and our management system to change a company’s performance.”

Learning Objective

Understand the importance of leadership and organizational culture in performance.

Organizational Culture
World/global, Belgium
Anheuser-Busch InBev, Consumer Goods, Beer, Manufacturing, Brewing
Published Sources
© 2015
Available Languages
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