The Greek from Brazil who became the “King of Beer”
Famous Greeks

The Greek from Brazil who became the “King of Beer”

The son of a Greek immigrant who travelled to Brazil in the middle of the last century, Michel Doukeris was born in the Latin American country in 1973. Holding a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Federal University of Santa Catarina and a Master’s degree from the Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Brazil, and having completed postgraduate programs from the Wharton School and the Kellogg School of Management, Michel Doukeris loves Greece.

Perhaps his English accent in the interviews he gives these days to international networks is more reminiscent of that of a Brazilian than a Greek. However, he stresses at every opportunity his Greek origin and his Greek roots.

His path to success in the brewing industry began in 1996, when Michel was just 23 years old and started as an employee at AB InBEV, the company that is described as the largest brewery in the world. Competent, committed and with… Greek grit, he used his knowledge and experience to develop within the company itself, gradually climbing the ranks. This is a success story where a simple employee once, managed to live up to the expectations he created from the first day he entered the industry and reached the point of running a beer empire around the world.
The pivotal point in time for him and the fortunes of AB InBEV was the period 2010-2012, when he was entrusted with the fortunes of the company’s operations in China. There he managed to double sales, and as a result he was promoted to president of the entire Asia-Pacific region.

According to the Financial Times’ extensive feature on Dukkeris, he was fascinated by Beijing’s five-year growth programmes and decided to ‘step on them’, extending the time horizon to ten years. In other words, he is working on the basis of a medium- or even long-term plan, while his competitors are looking much closer, and in this way he manages to stay one step ahead of them.

“It’s almost like avoiding a fight for something by putting yourself ahead of everyone else for that thing. You give the fight but without having a direct confrontation. I’m here for the long haul. I’m not going to rush into any decisions. We’re going to do things that will last,” he asserts.

So, after a four-year stint as president of the Asia-Pacific division from 2016-2017, Dukkeris became AB InBev’s Global Chief Sales Officer, then in 2019 he took over as CEO for North America, and from June 2021 he is now CEO of the entire group.

The biggest success he is credited with, apart from increasing sales, is drastically cutting costs in order to reduce the company’s debts. “Every dollar counts,” he says, asking each regional manager to be able to justify the smallest expense, even printer paper.

There is no doubt that Michel Duqueris is a man with a vision that has a hundred-year horizon, as crazy as that sounds. But with the company’s roots lost almost in the Middle Ages, that doesn’t seem so crazy after all. Today AB InBev has around 400 brands in its quiver, some of which are some of the most popular beers in the world.