UK consultant helps Heineken with succession planning

31 December 2014 2 min. read

The Heineken family has hired UK advisor Martin Jenkins to help them with the future plans of Freddy Heineken's grandchildren. The consultant, a specialist advisor in the field of 'old money’, will talk with the grandchildren about the legacy of the Heineken group with which they will have to deal sooner or later.

Heineken stays Heineken
Last year, SABMiller, one of the biggest beer breweries in the world, tried to acquire Heineken. The family rejected the offer and stated that it wants to preserve the heritage and identity of Heineken as an independent company. The brewery is still in the hands of Heineken Holding, the holding company that owns most of the shares.


As with any family business, the theme of business succession also plays a role at Heineken. At current state, the business interests are – since 2002 – guarded by the daughter of founder Freddy Heineken, Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, and her husband Michel de Carvalho. Together they have five children with ages from mid/late twenties, of which the oldest, Alexander de Carvalho (29), is a member of the Board of Directors at Heineken Holding. The remaining four grandchildren of Freddy Heineken are currently not fulfilling any official role within Heineken. However, in the long run, all of them are entitled to claim the huge legacy and the question arises how and to who the Empire will be transferred in the future.

Good transfer essential
Michel de Carvalho, investment banker and husband of Charlene Heineken, comments on the importance of a good transfer: “For anyone who oversees a family business, the transfer to the next generation forms the ultimate challenge of leadership. Doing it wrong, all energy of building the business will be wasted.”

External consultant
To advice on the issue of the Heineken estate and business succession, the de Carvalho-Heineken family decided hire UK advisor Martin Jenkins. He will talk to the five grandchildren of Freddy Heineken to figure out how they experience the upcoming legacy, and look at their ambitions, wishes but also any doubts. To do so, he will conduct individual and joint discussions. What the conversations eventually yield and how the business succession of the beer brewer will look like in the future, time will tell.