Heineken appoints James Thompson to chief commercial officer role

Thompson to assume role in early 2021

2021 is shaping up to be a different year at Heineken as James Thompson takes over for Jan Derck van Karnebeek in the chief commercial officer role in the early part of next year. Karnebeek has given notice and will be leaving the brewer to pursue other interests effective March 1.

Most recently, Thompson worked at Avon, supporting a team of leaders overseeing its purpose, commercial, marketing, digital, and cultural transformation. As part of the transformation , they were in charge of the “Watch Me Now” campaign.


At Diageo PLC, his work over 24 years took place on more than one continent, including North America, when he served as chief marketing and innovation officer. In Asia Pacific, he held the role of chief marketing and innovation officer and managing director, Global Reserve. Before that, Thompson worked for Unilever for a decade, serving in various key marketing roles.

“I am delighted by the appointment of James Thompson,” said Dolf van den Brink, chairman of the executive board and chief executive. “He is a very experienced executive with an international perspective on consumer, customer and marketing trends, both in developed and emerging markets. James has an excellent track record and a wealth of experience in premium brand building, consumer centricity, innovation, and leading multi-category development.”

Heineken will miss Derck van Karnebeek as he has ramped up organic revenue growth during his tenure. Due in large part to his contributions, the beer brand has had some of its best performance in decades, suggested the company’s announcement.


Photo credit: Heineken (featured preview image)

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