Bud Light's CMO calls it quits as sales continue to slump

Benoit Garbe, the U.S. chief marketing officer for Anheuser-Busch InBev, is calling it quits as the backlash over marketing stunts continues to affect sales.

Once American’s top-selling beer, Bud Light sales have plunged this year. In the most recent quarter, the brewer reported a 13.5% decline in revenue per 100 liters, which is the best measure of beer sales.

Garbe oversaw marketing when Bud Light partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in early April. The pushback from that campaign saw Bud Light fall behind Modelo Especial in U.S. retail sales.

Some of the backlash was homophobic, with people accusing the brewer of becoming “woke.” Ironically, Bud Light also lost ground with the LGBTQ communities for failing to stand up and defend its partnership with Mulvaney.

Garbe did not directly oversee that partnership. The two executives who did were put on leave after the cries for boycotts started.

He will remain with the company through the end of the year before “embarking on a new chapter in his career,” the company said in a statement. The position will not be filled after Garbe’s departure. Moving forward, U.S. chief commercial officer Kyle Norrington will oversee marketing for Bud Light and the company’s other brands.

Bud Light is already trying to lure back customers who are boycotting the brand, signing a sponsorship deal with UFC that’s said to be in the $100 million range and working closer with the NFL.

Garbe joined Anheuser-Busch in 2020 after the CMO position had been vacant for almost a year. Prior to joining the company, he worked Diageo, Moet Hennessy, Louis Vutton and Converse.

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