MillerCoors has started making internal leadership changes after the larger SABMiller agreed to merge with AB InBev in a $104 billion deal and sell its stake in the MillerCoors venture. Today, the company confirmed it has parted with its head of brand marketing, Gannon Jones.
"Gannon Jones is no longer with the company," a MillerCoors spokesperson told Adweek. "We appreciate his contributions to our business and wish him well. We are actively recruiting for his replacement."
Jones joined the company in late 2013 as vp of brand marketing to oversee promotions for its most popular brands, including Miller Lite and Coors Light. The Canadian native, who made headlines this summer for telling a Cannes Lions audience that "technology gets in the way of creativity," has spent more than two decades in marketing roles at top food and beverage companies. Prior to joining MillerCoors, he served as chief marketing officer for PepsiCo's Global Nutrition Group, which includes such brands as Quaker and Tropicana. He became vp of marketing at Pepsi's Frito-Lay in 2006 after spending 10 years at Kraft as a brand manager and director of consumer marketing.
The 2013 appointment came as MillerCoors struggled to halt the decline of its market share amid changing consumer tastes and the rise of the craft beer industry. (Despite these trends, Coors Light and Miller Lite remain the second and third best-selling beer brands in the U.S.)
Jones is not the only recent high-level departure at MillerCoors: CEO Tom Long retired in June and was replaced by chief financial officer Gavin Hattersley, who served as the company's interim leader before being promoted to the CEO role in September.
SABMiller, which created MillerCoors as a joint venture with Molson Coors in 2007, also announced earlier this week that it would off-load its stake in that venture to Molson in order to increase the likelihood of antitrust regulators approving the mega merger, which would create the world's largest beer brand. The move led to speculation that MillerCoors might leave its Chicago headquarters.
MillerCoors declined to provide more information on Jones' departure and its future plans as part of the larger Molson Coors organization.