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Graham Mackay

Graham Mackay

E. A. Graham Mackay

1949 – 2013

Read The Times' Obituary

Watch a video tribute to Graham Mackay

Graham Mackay spent his life creating one of the world’s most admired businesses, SABMiller plc.

Born on 26 July, 1949, Graham was brought up in Swaziland, Natal and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).  He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1972 with a BSc in Engineering and gained a Bcom from the University of South Africa in 1977.

Graham joined the South African Breweries Limited in 1978 and quickly ascended through the business, holding a number of senior positions in the group including his appointment as Executive Chairman of the beer business in South Africa in 1992.

He was appointed Group Managing Director in 1997 and Chief Executive of South African Breweries plc upon its listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1999. In July 2012 he was appointed Executive Chairman of SABMiller plc, becoming non-executive Chairman in April 2013.

Graham led SABMiller's rapid global expansion and was instrumental in several path-breaking initiatives including SAB's entry into China in 1994 through the formation of the CR Snow joint venture with China Resources Enterprise; the acquisition of Miller Brewing Company in the USA, 2002, and subsequent re-naming of the business as SABMiller plc; the acquisition of Bavaria in Latin America, 2005; formation of the MillerCoors joint venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors in the USA, 2008; and the acquisition of Foster's in Australia, 2011.

Under his leadership SABMiller made rapid inroads across Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. The business also successfully integrated beer and soft drinks operations in many parts of the world through bottling contracts with The Coca Cola Company as well as its own proprietary brands.

In addition to his responsibilities at SABMiller, Graham held a number of external directorships, including positions on the Boards of Reckitt Benckiser Group plc, where he was latterly Senior Independent Non-executive Director, and Philip Morris International Inc.

Outside his busy work life, Graham enjoyed squash, music and literature. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour in April 2013 and after a brave battle against the disease he passed away peacefully on 18 December, 2013, in Hampshire.  Graham is survived by his wife and six sons.

Chronological Career profile at SABMiller

1978 Systems Manager followed by
Management Services Manager, SAB Ltd
1982 General Manager then Regional Director of Northern Transvaal & Orange Free State, SAB Ltd
1987 Managing Director, SAB Ltd
1992 Chairman, SAB Ltd
1994 Chief Operating Executive, group central management, SAB
1997 Group Managing Director, group central management, SAB
1999 Chief Executive, South African Breweries plc (became SABMiller plc, 2002)
2012 Executive Chairman, SABMiller plc

Directorships held by Graham Mackay

Full company name Position
SABMiller plc Director and Chairman
Brasseries et Glacieres Internationales S.A. Director
Brasseries Internationales Holdings Limited Director
China Resources Snow Breweries Ltd (CRSB) Director
Pilsner Urquell Investments BV Director
Reckitt Benckiser Group plc Senior Independent Director
S.A. Breweries Limited Director
SABFIN (Pty) Ltd Director
SABMiller Africa & Asia BV Director
SABMiller Europe BV Director
Tsogo Sun Holdings (Pty) Ltd Director
Philip Morris International Inc Director

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Chairman Graham Mackay dies following illness. View the news release.