Writing for Food & Wine, Mike Pomranz reports that 25-year beer industry veteran Maggie Timoney has broken barriers by becoming the first female CEO of a major US beer company. Any time women achieve the top executive position at a major company, it’s important news. According to Fortune, as of June 7, 2017, the number of female CEOs on the Fortune 500 had increased by more than 50 percent from the previous year, rising from 21 to 32 and setting a new record. But that’s still just 6.4 percent of the 500 companies on the list.
“According to the site Women in Craft Beer (who have some skin in the game on this issue), only 29 percent of brewery workers are female, only about 17 percent of craft breweries have a female CEO, and only 4 percent of breweries have a female head brewer,” writes Pomranz, whose article was published on June 6, 2018. “The numbers aren’t particularly better for America’s largest breweries where a female had never held the position of CEO—until this week, that is.”
Pomranz notes that while some large craft brewers like New Belgium have had a female CEO, Timoney is the first female to reach the top rank among the top five American brewers, which include Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors and Constellation – which sells Corona.
Despite common stereotypes, women do drink beer, albeit not nearly as much as men. Although they represent more than fifty-percent of the overall population, women only represent about a quarter of US beer consumption. That means there’s a lot of money left on the table for big beer companies who are obviously interested in capturing a greater share of this market.
Inclusion, as we say, is a business imperative. Beer companies seem to get this, which has led to companies trying to change their image, including toning down some of the sexism in beer Super Bowl ads, for example. Diversity and inclusion within the organization is another strategy to help tap into the female market. After all, you can’t hope to understand a market segment if your leadership doesn’t mirror that segment. Promoting a woman to CEO, in a company hoping to capture a larger share of the female population, is one of the best steps any company can make in leveraging key employee demographics required for growth.
Be inclusive! It’s a business imperative.
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