Advertising Age — and for that matter, almost everybody else — broke the news yesterday that Anheuser-Busch’s Chief Creative Officer for over twenty years, Bob Lachky, will be leaving the company next month. According to Harry Schumacher, who’s rarely wrong I should add, said Lachky let the press know during a “conference call with reporters.” Most articles report that the decision to leave is not related to InBev’s acquisition of the company, but I have a hard time swallowing that entirely. Surely, it had something to do with it, but no executive ever says so in these situations. And Lachky was the consummate professional. I’d interviewed him several times and always enjoyed his perspective on the beer business. Lachy was also responsible for A-B’s successful Super Bowl advertising and helped create “‘Wassup?!,’ the Budweiser frogs and ‘Real Men of Genius,’ the most-awarded radio campaign in history.”
Curiously, A-B President Dave Peacock is quoted as saying they won’t be replacing Lachky, instead remarking “that rather than appoint a new chief creative officer, A-B will use a more ‘decentralized’ approach to creative development in the future, with marketing VP Keith Levy and various brand teams assuming many of his former responsibilities.” That sure sounds like InBev’s coast-cutting to me, eliminating a position and assigning the work to several individuals.
That’s me talking with Bob Lachky at an A-B reception during GABF a few years ago. Ironically, the person on the right edge of the photo with his back to the camera is my friend and colleague Bill Brand, who’s still in bad shape at SF General Hospital after being struck by a San Francisco Muni train Sunday night. (Photo by Banjo Bandolas)