business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting interview with Leo Kiely, CEO of Molson Coors Brewing Co., who has managed the merger of the two companies while increasing sales and profits while cutting costs.


On his management style… “It really crystallizes in ‘people make it happen.’ The job of a leader is to set the horizon -- set a big, hairy, audacious goal. And then staff the company with leadership that will align against that. Turn the team loose and let them play. It's all about talent. Somebody said, ‘People are your most important asset.’ I would say, your best people are your most important asset, but you're constantly looking to upgrade that talent pool.”

On how beer drinkers have changed… “What's probably changed the most in a generation is the variety-seeking nature of today's beer drinker. I sort of grew up as a beer drinker in the late 1960s, early '70s, and my brand set was an import, Heineken, and a domestic brand, Schlitz. Today I watch a beer drinker in his late 20s, and he'll have an import brand, maybe two, he enjoys. He'll have a craft-brew brand. And the bulk of his beer drinking will still be a light lager.”

On the future… “I think to be a successful global brewer today, you have to be really good at portfolio selling. Having a strong portfolio of local brands, augmented by a big potential global brand like Coors Light, is really the formula to success looking forward. We have a great brand in Coors Light. We're on the verge of being a truly global brand. It's grown virtually in every market; we've got it in right now. We aspire long term to be one of the premier global beer companies …I think beer is very viable when you head into the future. You look at it as the alcoholic beverage of moderation. Beer is growing like crazy in Russia right now, because they're looking to be able to be more in control. I think these things go in very long cycles.”
KC's View:
“Big hairy audacious goals.” I like that.