SABMiller Appoints Du Plessis of Rio Tinto as Chairman Designate

SABMiller Plc, the world’s second-biggest brewer, said Jan du Plessis would replace John Manser as chairman of the company in July next year.

Du Plessis, 60, who is also chairman of London-based miner Rio Tinto Plc, will become an independent non-executive director at SABMiller from Sept. 1, the maker of Grolsch and Peroni beers said today in a statement. His previous roles include finance director of Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the maker of Cartier jewelry and Montblanc pens, and chairman of British American Tobacco Plc.

Du Plessis “has not only an excellent record as a chairman of major international groups with developing markets footprints, but also a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of international consumer businesses,” Manser said in the statement.

The SABMiller position “does not in any way diminish my strong commitment” to Rio Tinto, Du Plessis said in a separate statement from the world’s second-biggest mining company. He plans to serve as chairman there for several more years, having held the role since 2009, he said. Du Plessis will, however, step down as a director of London-based retailer Marks & Spencer Plc during the first half of 2015.

SABMiller, which has the largest exposure to fast-growing emerging markets of the major brewers, originally started selling beer to gold prospectors in South Africa in 1895, before moving its primary listing to London in 1999 and expanding through a series of acquisitions in markets including Australia and Colombia. Du Plessis has degrees in commerce and law from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa and is qualified as a chartered accountant in the country.

“Joining the board of SABMiller is simply one of the most natural decisions I could ever hope to make,” said Du Plessis.

Manser was appointed chairman on a temporary basis in December following the death of former SABMiller chief executive officer and chairman Graham Mackay.

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