Heineken appoints its first chief digital and technology officer

Dutch brewer Heineken has appointed its first ever chief digital and technology officer, as part of its aim to modernise its consumer strategy.

Ronald den Elzen has joined the executive team in the newly created role, with Heineken recognising that consumers, customers and employees now expect "a seamless digital experience" when they interact with all brands and the company.

Last year, the drinks business launched its ‘Connect in a digital world’ internal campaign, making it one of five key strategic priorities, and it said the appointment of den Elzen underpins its ambition to become “the world’s most connected brewer”. Just last month, as Heineken reported its full annual report, the company said it would look to use the opportunities provided by digitalisation to connect with consumers and customers.

Den Elzen’s full roles and responsibilities have not yet been made public, but these job titles in other businesses tend to cover overseeing new digital marketing campaigns, working with new start-ups, and exploring how technology can boost internal operations. They are often appointed to change a company's culture and way of working.

The new chief digital and technology officer has been at the company for 25 years, most recently serving as managing director of Heineken USA. He has also been finance director in the Netherlands and in the UK, as well as leading Sociedade Central de Cervejas, the company’s Portuguese business.

Heineken also announced today (4 March) that Marc Gross will retire as chief supply chain officer, next month, and he will be succeeded by Magne Setnes, who is currently general manager for Brau Union, the company’s Austrian business. Setnes joined Heineken in 2000, and has held a number of senior international leadership roles across supply chain, commerce and general management in different geographies.

Jean-François van Boxmeer, chairman of the executive board and CEO at Heineken, commented: “Marc has been critical for managing the growth of this company.

“While during the last 15 years our volumes, number of breweries and number of brands grew significantly, he has made the complexity of our global supply chain feel easy. Today thanks to Marc and his global teams across our regions, we have a very high performing supply chain organisation.”

Talking about the new recruits, he added: “They are two highly experienced and versatile Heineken executives who have a lot to bring to our company.”

A successor for Setnes in Austria will be announced in due course.

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