Heineken USA’s CEO wants to diversify the alcoholic beverages industry

April 24, 2023, 11:56 AM UTC
Heinekin USA CEO Maggie Timoney is trying to diversify the company's workforce.
Courtesy of Heinekin

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! The Supreme Court maintains FDA approval of mifepristone—for now, Bed Bath & Beyond files for bankruptcy, and the CEO of Heineken USA wants to diversify her industry. Have a productive Monday.

– Grab a beer. Maggie Timoney grew up in Ireland until she came to the U.S. for college. After graduating from Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., she found a job as a sales rep for the wine business Gallo. It was a twist of fate that set her on a path for a 30-year career in the alcoholic beverages industry.

Today, Timoney is the CEO of Heineken USA. After her stint as a wine sales rep, she joined Heineken in 1998 and has held jobs overseeing the Dutch brewing company’s businesses in Canada and back home in Ireland; she spent some time working from the brand’s home base in the Netherlands before taking on the Heineken USA CEO job in New York in 2018.

“It was an unbelievable experience that helped me grow as a person,” Timoney says of her journey within the company.

This year, diversity and inclusion are major focuses for Timoney. At the end of 2022, Heineken published the second edition of “Behind the Label” an annual report which cataloged experiences of belonging and inclusion within the alcoholic beverages industry. Eighty-six percent of employees in the industry said they experienced some type of bias during their time at work.

Those findings are guiding Timoney as she works to welcome new kinds of talent to the traditionally male-dominated industry and create a work environment that encourages new recruits to stick around. Rather than focus on diversity in hiring, she wants to improve the experiences of workers already in the industry. She says she was a “bit naive” about the gender disparity in the industry when she entered it after growing up in an environment she describes as a level playing field for boys and girls in Ireland.

The alcoholic beverages industry can have an outsize impact on culture compared to the size of its businesses, Timoney argues. Consumers know beer, wine, and spirits brands even if some of those companies themselves are relatively small. Heineken earned about €35 billion in revenue globally last year and is still controlled by Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, a member of the brewing business’s founding family.

“We are doing it for our own company,” she says of Heineken’s work to diversify its workforce. “But we want our industry to get the best talent in—and not only in beer, but in wine and spirits, too.”

Emma Hinchliffe

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