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Former Anheuser-Busch exec says layoffs should’ve included CEO: ‘There’s no future at this company’

Instead of laying off hundreds of rank-and-file employees, a former Anheuser-Busch executive argued the brewer would’ve been smarter to let go of just one person.

“My feeling is they would’ve been set up for more success if they actually laid off one person, which is their CEO,” Anson Frericks, Anheuser-Busch’s previous president of operations, said Friday on “Varney & Co.”

“They said they’re trying to set this business up for future long-term success, but there’s no future at this company with the current CEO in place,” he added. “The CEO is accountable for the results of the organization, and the results of the last four months have been terrible.”

After a controversial partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney resulted in months of Bud Light’s slumping sales, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced that it laid off hundreds of workers.Brendan Whitworth, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, the world’s largest brewer, on Wednesday said the company did not make the decision to cut staff “lightly” but was prioritizing its “future long-term success,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

“You still have sales down 30% on their top brands. Billions of dollars of shareholder value have been razed, and it’s all due to the decisions made by the top leaders of the company,” Frericks criticized.

Whitworth clarified the layoffs included corporate and marketing roles at U.S. offices in St. Louis, New York and Los Angeles. It did not impact brewery and warehouse staff, the company also said.Frericks expanded on why the job cuts should have started “at the top” of the company.

“Every single CEO, they have a fiduciary obligation to their shareholders, not to these stakeholders in the organization that are pushing different agendas, activist agendas, political agendas,” the former exec explained. “If you’re the CEO of a company, you’re the one who’s accountable for the results at the end of the day.”

When he settled into the company after joining in 2011, Frericks claimed he started seeing the shift away from fiscal priorities to political ones.

“By the time I left the organization, we started releasing two annual reports: one was for shareholders, which talked about what the company was doing, its financials; but there was a second, 105-page ESG report that the company was releasing that was talking about DEI, talking about ESG, talking to these progressive things that frankly did not deliver to the bottom line,” he pointed out.

Frericks expressed he remains “shocked” that Anheuser-Busch hasn’t properly addressed or fixed the slump in sales, and warned of “more pain” to come.”They have their shareholder call next week where they’re going to have to be accountable to shareholders. I think there are going to be a lot of tough questions where you’re going to have folks asking what the plan is to turn things around,” he said.

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