AMSTERDAM (AP) — A grandson of Freddy Heineken, the man who built the Dutch brewer into an international beer giant, will be the first of a new generation of Heineken heirs to take a place on the board of the brewer's holding company.
Alexander de Carvalho, 28, is the oldest son of Heineken's daughter, Charlene de Carvalho.
He is to be approved to a four-year term on the board of Heineken Holding NV, starting in April, the company said Friday. The Heineken family controls the holding company, which in turn controls Heineken NV. That structure lets the family retain a veto over Heineken's corporate decisions with just a 25 percent economic stake.
De Carvalho is a Harvard graduate with dual British and Dutch nationality. He currently works at private equity firm Lion Capital, after an earlier stint at Bank Gutmann in Austria.
Heineken was founded in 1864 by his great-great grandfather, Gerard Adriaan Heineken. Gerard Adriaan brewed the first "Heineken" labeled beer brewed in 1871. The company grew and eventually passed hands to his son, Henry Pierre Heineken, who kept it in business through the Great Depression. But Freddy Heineken has been the driving force behind the company's great international expansion.
When he joined in 1941, it was no longer majority-owned by the Heineken family, and within several years Freddy had created the holding structure in order to regain control.
An astute businessman, he saw the potential of the brand and understood an imported European beer could command a premium price in the United States.
Heineken grew to become the most popular foreign beer in the U.S., a place it held until the 2000s, when it was eclipsed by Corona. Meanwhile Heineken has continued to expand via acquisitions and is now the third-largest brewer globally, behind Budweiser-owner AB InBev of Belgium and SABMiller of Britain.
It sells dozens of beers in addition to the flagship brand, including Amstel, Sol, Desperados, Tecate, Strongbow, Murphy's, Newcastle, Birra Moretti, Cruzcampo, and Tiger, among others.
Freddy Heineken retired as CEO of Heineken NV in 1989, then as chairman of Heineken Holding in 1995, and Heineken's strategy has been directed by non-family members since then — though they must approve major decisions with the holding company. Freddy Heineken died in 2002.
Now, the Heineken family's stake is kept within a holding company called L'Arche Green NV, which has a stake of 51.1 percent in Heineken Holding. Charlene de Carvalho holds 88.5 percent of L'Arche Green.
Ms. Carvalho has not taken any public role in guiding Heineken. Alexander de Carvalho's job at Heineken Holding is non-executive for the time being.
His presence "continues the tradition of personal involvement in the Heineken group by successive generations of the Heineken family," the company said in a statement.