Changes to Anheuser-Busch introduced by InBev
On November 18, 2008, the acquisition was completed and the company is now known as Anheuser-Busch Inbev. Within six months, InBev "turned a family-led company that spared little expense into one that is focused intently on cost-cutting and profit margins, while rethinking the way it sells beer." InBev is applying an approach that "stresses a sharp eye on costs and incentive-based pay structures" that it inherited from AmBev in a prior acquisition; among the changes:
1. 1,400 U.S. employees (6%) and 415 contractors were laid off
2. introduced what InBev called an "increased focus on meritocracy" that means salaried workers receive a base salary that was supposed to be targeted at 80% to 100% of the market rate (though this has not turned out to be the case, with many employees earning well under 80%) about 40 of its executives were granted a total of 28 million stock options, "potentially worth tens of millions of dollars to each recipient, if the company reduces its debt-to-income ratio by about half in five years"
3. for senior management, elimination of executive assistants and private secretaries
4. elimination of free beer program known as the Anheuser Busch Hospitality Houses and Brewmasters Club formally located at the theme parks (which have since been sold)
5. announced it would end contributions to its pension plan for salaried employees in 2012
6. "ornate executive suites" were replaced by a "sea of desks"
7. the number of company-supplied BlackBerrys for employees cut from 1,200 to 720
8. accounts payable terms lengthened to 120 days zero-based budgeting
9. put its corporate jets for sale announced that in January 2010, it will stop providing life insurance for retirees
10. elimination of tuition reimbursement for all but its highest rated employees (those rated 4a and 4b)
11. These changes are also accompanied by changes in its advertising.
12. The changes continued in 2010, as Anheuser-Busch InBev:
13. Continued with layoffs according to a local paper and employees (with more layoffs rumored to come)
14. Revamped their severance policy to require employees to sign away their rights to WARN pay before receiving severance