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Anheuser-Busch’s chief creative officer leaving

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The executive who helped create many of advertising powerhouse Anheuser-Busch’s most memorable ads is leaving his post as chief creative officer, and the brewer said Tuesday its brand managers will collectively fill his duties.

Bob Lachky said Tuesday he is leaving at the end of the month to pursue other opportunities in communications.

Anheuser-Busch President David Peacock made the announcement with Lachky in a conference call with reporters, saying no one will replace him.

Lachky’s duties, including oversight of all advertising and creative development across the company’s trove of brands, from Bud Light to Budweiser, now will be overseen by the St. Louis-based company’s brand management team.

“I don’t think we’ll miss a beat,” Lachky said. “In fact, I think we’ll be stronger.”

Peacock said leaving the creative decisions to brand managers will leverage their knowledge about the products and the consumers who buy them into Anheuser-Busch’s advertising.

“Now we have a better understanding of the people we know we want to target,” he said.

Both officials said the move was not related to the company’s $52 billion sale late last year to InBev, a move that formed the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Belgium-based InBev is known for its cost-cutting efforts and has been shedding jobs. There had been concern about what that would mean for Anheuser-Busch’s marketing.

Peacock has said the company’s marketing budget won’t change under the new ownership.

This marks the second big-name departure since the sale. In November, Tony Ponturo, 56, announced he was retiring at the end of last year as vice president of global media and sports marketing.

Lachky, 55, joined the company 20 years ago as senior brand manager for Bud Light.

He oversaw some of Anheuser-Busch’s biggest advertising campaigns, from “I Love You, Man” to the “Bud-weis-er” ribbiting frogs.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after the Super Bowl, in which Anheuser-Busch heavily advertises. Lachky said he had been thinking about leaving for a while but wanted to stay on for this Super Bowl. He said the company achieved its goals of reinforcing its quality, heritage and tradition through its messages — which included a trio of Budweiser ads featuring the company’s Clydesdale horses.

Lachky said he was not retiring but declined to give specifics about his future.

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