Case Study

Future-proofing HEINEKEN: The EverGreen strategy

23 pages
January 2023
Reference: IMD-7-2423

Dolf van den Brink, CEO of HEINEKEN, left the company’s global headquarters in Amsterdam for a company retreat. Over the next three days, the entire executive team would gather to discuss the company’s future. The preliminary results for 2022, presented during the recent two-day Capital Markets Event, were positive, and the company’s progress on its key strategic pillars painted an encouraging picture – a sign that HEINEKEN’s EverGreen strategy was in full swing. However, rising prices and global inflation were expected to put pressure on operating costs and consumers’ purchasing power. In addition, geopolitical and macroeconomic developments were threatening to create a post-pandemic world characterized by uncertainty and volatility. Finally, society was changing at a rapid pace, along with consumer and customer expectations. In June 2020, when van den Brink was appointed CEO at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, he was faced with a daunting task. Not only did he need to lead the company through an unprecedented crisis, he also had to future-proof the organization well beyond the end of the pandemic. In February 2021, after months of exchanges with over 200 colleagues around the world, van den Brink unveiled the company’s new strategy, EverGreen. This multiyear plan was designed to turn HEINEKEN into a highly adaptive organization capable of thriving in a dynamic and fast-paced environment, while at the same time creating long-term sustainable value for stakeholders. The strategy was underpinned by HEINEKEN’s analysis of its core strengths, emerging macro trends and perceived opportunities. As van den Brink made his way through the evening traffic, he thought about the upcoming company retreat, which he felt was coming at just the right moment. The team needed to reflect on EverGreen’s implementation while deep-diving on key strategic initiatives that, if successfully implemented, would future-proof the company for years to come.

Learning Objective
  • Understand the macro factors that have shaped (and will shape) the beer industry
  • Analyze how globally disruptive phenomena, such as the pandemic, affect the beer industry in both the short and long term
  • Explore the need for a large beer producer such as HEINEKEN to make adjustments in view of current and likely future disruptions
  • Explore strategy in an environment characterized by a high degree of uncertainty
  • Think holistically about how to design a multi-year corporate strategy
Digital Transformation, Disruption, Global Business, Strategy Formulation, Strategy Execution, Global Strategy, Corporate Strategy, COVID-19, Responsible Consumption, Responsible Production, Climate Action
HEINEKEN, Consumer Goods, Beer
Published Sources
© 2023
Available Languages
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Teaching note
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