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Boston Beer CEO Roper To Retire In 2018

February 3, 2017

Martin Roper, Boston Beer Company’s longtime CEO, will retire in 2018, the company said. Roper, 53, has led Boston Beer since 2001. The craft brewer has enjoyed enormous growth during his tenure. However, Boston Beer has been losing ground of late amid intense competition in the craft segment, and the company’s share price—which also achieved awesome gains with Roper at the helm—has fallen sharply since early 2015.

Roper announced his pending retirement yesterday, about three weeks before Boston Beer is scheduled to report its full-year 2016 financial results. The company had a difficult first nine months last year, including a third quarter in which shipments and revenue both endured double-digit declines.

Still, founder and chairman Jim Koch had nothing but praise for Roper, who joined Boston Beer as vice president of operations in 1994. “Our performance under Martin’s stewardship has been incredible, and I’m very grateful for his leadership, partnership and friendship over the last 22 years, during which the company has grown eightfold,” Koch said in a statement. “With the strong leadership team he has built, we’re set up for success, and I’m confident we will find a very capable CEO to step into his big shoes and lead Boston Beer into the future.” The company has retained search firm Korn Ferry to assist in finding Roper’s successor.

Boston Beer’s total volume was around 16 million cases in 2001, according to Impact Databank. By 2016, that figured had jumped to around 55 million cases (including beer, RTDs and cider). Meanwhile, Boston Beer’s share price was at around $10 when Roper became CEO. It reached a peak of approximately $320 in January 2015, when the brewer’s Angry Orchard cider was experiencing torrid growth. Since then, the share price has essentially been halved, and yesterday it was trading at around $156. But even with the recent decline, Boston Beer’s share price since 2001 has outpaced the S&P 500’s growth by approximately sixfold. —Peter Zwiebach

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