Hispanic and African-American VPs Named

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CHICAGO ( -- Anheuser-Busch is creating new VP positions to oversee Hispanic and African-American marketing, reflecting the brewer’s increased focus on ethnic markets as it struggles to reverse sales and market share declines.
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Henry Dominguez, a longtime Anheuser-Busch executive who has held sales and marketing positions in the past, will return from California, where he is currently vice president for government affairs for the western region to take the top Hispanic job.

Imminent announcement
Mr. Dominguez’s appointment is expected to be announced this week, along with that of Johnny Furr Jr. as vice president for African-American marketing, according to several executives familiar with the matter. Mr. Furr is vice president of sales development and community affairs, a job in which he is already involved with consumer awareness, education and marketing, and sales initiatives to African-American consumers.

The creation of a Hispanic marketing department headed by a vice president includes the recent promotion of Juan Torres to the post of director of Latino marketing. Mr. Torres, who is from Colombia, was previously Hispanic brand manager for Budweiser. Rudy Beltran, Hispanic brand manager for Bud Light, may also take on a somewhat different role, said executives familiar with the changes.

Rank in Hispanic ad spending
Beer marketing is a highly competitive category in the Hispanic market. Anheuser-Busch was the second-largest beer marketer, and ranked No. 36 overall, among Hispanic advertisers in 2004, spending $20 million. Only SABMiller ranked higher, at No. 28, with ad spending of $24 million. Anheuser-Busch works with three of the most creative ad agencies in the U.S. Hispanic market: del Rivero Messianu DDB, Coral Gables, Fla; Omnicom Group’s Dieste Harmel & Partners, Dallas; and LatinWorks, Austin, an independent shop that recently replaced Dallas-based Ornelas on the beer marketer’s Hispanic roster.

The multicultural appointments reflect an ongoing shakeup in the brewer’s marketing department to address falling sales. Last week the brewer appointed Marlene Coulis, who previously held new product, strategy and research posts, as its new vice president for brand management.

Elevating importance
Ms. Coulis succeeded Bob Lachky -- the longtime ad chief who oversaw campaigns from Bud Light’s “I love you, man” to Budweiser’s “Whassup” -- who was promoted to the newly created position of executive vice president for global industry development. By creating vice president posts overseeing Hispanic and African-American marketing, the brewer is elevating the importance of those disciplines. And Ms. Coulis is herself Hispanic, the daughter of Mexican immigrants. An executive familiar with the job changes said that although Ms. Coulis isn’t a Spanish speaker herself, she is keenly aware of her Latino heritage.

Anheuser-Busch representatives didn’t return repeated calls.

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