Labatt names vet to top Canada post

Fred Jaques doesn't do things by half-measures. Two weeks ago, when he was appointed president of the Labatt Brewing Company and executive vice-president of Interbrew North America, he said his first order of business was to appoint a senior vice-president of...

Fred Jaques doesn’t do things by half-measures. Two weeks ago, when he was appointed president of the Labatt Brewing Company and executive vice-president of Interbrew North America, he said his first order of business was to appoint a senior vice-president of marketing for Labatt Breweries of Canada, the brewer’s Canadian operations.

Instead, he hired a president.

Bruce Elliot, a 23-year-veteran of Labatt, assumes the domestic responsibilities of former Interbrew North America executive vice-president Don Kitchen, 44, who died in August. Jaques has responsibility for North America as a whole.

‘Canada is critical to the business and it’s a critical part of [Labatt parent] Interbrew’s growth strategy long-term. The sense was that we needed a dedicated, focused look at Canada on a day-to-day basis,’ says Elliot of his appointment.

No one can say Elliot hasn’t paid his dues. He is a veteran of the brewing industry, having been with Labatt since 1977. He was named director of sales in 1988, and was promoted to VP, sales and marketing in 1993. He then became president for the Atlantic region in 1995, and most recently, was appointed president of Labatt Breweries Ontario in 1998.

During his time with Labatt, he has worked in almost every division, region and department. That, he says, gives him a good perspective on the overall operation of the company. He adds that he’s ‘a total system guy’ who can approach the market holistically – ‘by brand, by customer, by geography, by channel.’