Diageo's Christian McMahan to Take Over as Heineken CMO

Succeeds Ken Kunze in Latest Shift at the Brewer

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- In yet another shift at the brewer, Heineken USA has named a new chief marketing officer.

Christian McMahan, who formerly oversaw U.S. marketing efforts for Diageo's Guinness and Red Stripe beer brands, will now oversee an import-brand portfolio that includes Heineken, Heineken Premium Light, Amstel Light, Dos Equis and Tecate.

He succeeds Ken Kunze, an 11-year Heineken veteran who held the CMO post for three years. In a statement, Mr. Kunze said he chose to resign rather than accept the overseas assignment that likely would have been his next step up in the ranks of the Dutch brewing behemoth.

Latest change
Mr. Kunze's CMO tenure saw the successful rollout of Heineken Premium Light as well as the acclaimed "Most Interesting Man in the World" campaign that's spurred Dos Equis to growth. "I've had a phenomenal experience here at Heineken USA, working with some of the brightest people in any business on one of the world's most iconic brands," Mr. Kunze said in a statement.

The move is the latest in a succession of changes at and around Heineken USA. Last year, Don Blaustein replaced Andy Thomas as president. That same year the marketer conducted a protracted review for its Heineken and Heineken Premium Light brands, eventually picking Berlin Cameron United over Wieden & Kennedy in March -- only to fire Berlin and hand the business to Wieden just six months later.

The agency shuffling continued on a smaller scale this week, when Heineken tapped G2 as its new promotional agency of record, replacing Ryan Partnership; and selected Dieste Harmel & Partners as its new Hispanic promotional agency of record, replacing Vidal Partnership and Alcone Marketing Group. (Vidal continues to work as a creative agency for Heineken.)

Sales still strong
Despite the turmoil, sales have remained robust on both its Dutch and Mexican import brands. Mr. McMahan will be tasked with maintaining the momentum.

Prior to leading Guinness and Red Stripe, Mr. McMahan served as U.S. brand manager for Smirnoff and Captain Morgan at Diageo. Prior to that, he worked at Sam Adams parent Boston Beer Co.

"We look forward to Christian joining the organization and are confident he will help us continue to elevate our marketing activities and drive our growth within the import category," said Mr. Blaustein. "His understanding and experience across the three tiers of the beverage alcohol business will also help us continue to deliver greater value to our customers through programming that resonates and taps into the passion points of our consumers."

Heineken USA spent $136.2 million on measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
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