InBev lures Diageo in-houser to fill chief legal officer role

Inbev, the world’s largest brewer – whose flagship brands include Stella Artois and Becks – has raided drinks rival Diageo for a new chief legal officer (CLO).

Sabine Chalmers, the former general counsel of Diageo’s North American business, joined InBev’s Brussels headquarters earlier this month. InBev formed after last summer’s £6bn merger between Belgium’s Interbrew and Brazil-based Ambev.

One of Chalmers’ first tasks will be to review InBev’s legal team to ensure it can service the requirements of the newly created group. Currently, InBev’s regional general counsel report directly to their respective country chief executive officers and are therefore able to run their affairs independently.

Chalmers is also expected to review InBev’s relationships with external lawyers. The group currently has strong ties with Linklaters, Simmons & Simmons and Sullivan & Cromwell.

Commenting on her move, she said: “It was an opportunity to become a chief legal officer and to join a company during a very important stage of its corporate history.”

Chalmers replaces Patrice Thys, who has moved to look after InBev’s Asia Pacific region. Meanwhile, InBev’s interim CLO Catherine Noir Falisse has relocated to the group’s Italian business
unit.