From CIA to beer: Brendan Whitworth's path to CEO of Anheuser-Busch

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Years earlier than he grew to become CEO of one of the well-known beer corporations in the US, Brendan Whitworth would spend time late into the night time learning for enterprise college whereas stationed in Baghdad, Iraq.

It was the one time he needed to put together for the Graduate Administration Admission Take a look at (GMAT) in between his duties on the Central Intelligence Company (CIA).

After a yr of labor, Whitworth needed to sit for the check however had few choices within the Center East. 

So with little or no time on his palms, he flew straight to Washington, D.C, sat for the examination and submitted the outcomes from his cousin's home 29 minutes earlier than the Harvard Enterprise College utility was due. 



Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth.  (Anheuser-Busch )

"I don't know if I put my finest foot ahead," Whitworth laughed as he spoke with Fox Information Digital.  

On the time, Whitworth was devoted to serving the nation, first as a primary lieutenant in the US Marine Corps after which as an operations officer for the CIA's counterterrorism heart. 

4 years into his work on the company, his older sister Kelty pushed him to use to enterprise college. 

"Whereas she appreciated what I had been doing … she, as any protecting sibling could be, was continuously saying, 'OK, you've performed eight years now … What do you concentrate on prioritizing your self?'" he recalled, including that she had a "sturdy, well-grounded opinion" in his life. 


Reluctantly, he agreed to use however with one stipulation: He would solely apply to the distinguished Boston-based college the place Kelty had attended undergraduate college.

"There are a bunch of nice enterprise faculties … however I all the time felt like she had one thing on me, too. So, I used to be like, 'All proper, nice, I'm going to go there'," Whitworth mentioned. 

It was one thing he hadn't beforehand thought-about. In 1994, Whitworth began his freshmen yr at Bucknell College with the intention of following in his father's footsteps of turning into a physician. 

Nonetheless, halfway by means of his school profession, Whitworth, who all the time admired navy and authorities service, discovered himself researching easy methods to get into the Marines.

Anheuser-Busch ceo

Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth.  (Anheuser-Busch )

"I felt lucky to have been born in the US," he mentioned. "I felt like I wanted to pay that again like I had a little bit of indebtedness that I … wanted to pay."

On high of that, his grandfather labored on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), serving underneath President Hoover, earlier than working the coaching in Quantico, Virginia.


"That's the place form of the attachment to … serving the nation got here from," Whitworth mentioned. 

After dropping his pursuit of a medical diploma, the thought of serving the nation had "turn into rather more of a actuality," Whitworth mentioned. 

Earlier than his senior yr at Bucknell, he attended Officer Candidates College, the place commencement candidates are commissioned as officers in the US Marine Corps, "marking the ultimate transition from civilian to Marine officer," in keeping with the Marines. 

Brendan Whitworth, Anheuser-Busch CEO

Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth.  (Anheuser-Busch )

Throughout that point, candidates show "themselves succesful as leaders our nation can depend on," in keeping with the Marines. After graduating OCS and Bucknell, Whitworth spent three years within the Marines and one other 5 years on the company, in any other case often called the primary line of protection for the US. 

In 2006, after getting accepted to Harvard, he left Baghdad and spent the subsequent two years in Boston, immersed in enterprise college. 

Reasonably than moving into banking or administration consulting like a lot of his colleagues, Whitworth took a distinct route. 

Whitworth recalled having a whole week of interviews lined up and canceling each single one. In flip, he landed a job at PepsiCo in its Frito-Lay unit.  

After a number of brief years, he was employed by Anheuser-Busch, an organization he says has been "an American icon for nearly 170 years." 

Budweiser bottling facility St. Louis, Missouri

Signage is displayed as bottles of beer transfer alongside the manufacturing line on the Anheuser-Busch Budweiser bottling facility in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 28, 2015.  (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg through Getty Pictures / Getty Pictures)

Inside eight years, he quickly moved up the chain, beginning as vice chairman of the Northeast Area in 2014 to sitting on the helm of the corporate by July 2021. 

His success was partly as a result of expertise he discovered within the Marines when he was tasked with main a platoon of troops. 


"They put you thru a course of to display screen you, to see if do you could have the capabilities to steer Marines," he mentioned. "Then they offer you what they consider are the appropriate management rules … after which they offer you a platoon of Marines, and you must go see if that every one works. " 

He needed to discover a approach to impress individuals from vastly completely different backgrounds and experiences. 

"That early expertise gave me an appreciation that I've continued to construct upon — what it means to attach with, promote to, market to somebody from Philadelphia or any individual from San Antonio," Whitworth mentioned.

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