Ivan Menezes, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of spirits major Diageo passed away today at the age of 63, after being hospitalised. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Menezes was set to retire at the end of this month and was in the hospital receiving treatment for conditions including a stomach ulcer. Diageo said CEO-designate Debra Crew would assume the top role on an interim basis immediately, Reuters reported.

Diageo’s top boss was born in Pune in July 1959. He was educated at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

His father Manuel Menezes, was the chairman of the Indian Railway Board and his brother Victor Menezes is the former chairman and CEO of Citibank.

Menezes joined Diageo in 1997 and held various senior positions including Chief Operating Officer and Chairman, of Latin America & the Caribbean; Chairman of Asia Pacific; President and CEO of Diageo North America; and Chief Operating Officer of Diageo North America. He became the CEO in July 2013, succeeding Paul S. Wals.

He was also a Non-executive Director of the US-based fashion retailer Coach. Menezes was even knighted in the 2023 New Year Honours for services to business and equality.

Condolences flood social media

Condolences poured in for Menezes on Twitter.

Abhishek Singhvi, a Member of the Rajya Sabha reminiscing his memories wrote, “Shocked and numbed to hear the passing of Ivan Menezes, my classmate at Columba’s and Stephen’s. A more gentle laid back and easygoing soul would be difficult to find. I used to joke with him as to how, with these traits, he could head a multinational like Diageo, which he so ably did. RIP my friend.”

“A superb CEO who not only did a stellar job running the business but who was also forward-thinking and very much in tune with the times. Sincere condolences to his family and colleagues,” another Twitter user wrote.