Heineken Ireland appoints Sharon Walsh as managing director
Former Ireland MD, Maarten Schuurman will take up the role of managing director of Heineken’s East & West Africa region from 1 April 2023
1 March 2023
Heineken Ireland has appointed Sharon Walsh as the company’s new managing director.
Walsh, who succeeds Maarten Schuurman from today, is currently the commercial director for Heineken Ireland. She has held senior roles within Heineken Ireland and across at the brewer’s global operations over the past 11 years.
Schuurman is leaving Ireland to take up the role of managing director of Heineken’s East & West Africa region from 1 April 2023. In his new role he will be responsible for Heineken’s operating companies in Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Sierra Leone, Mozambique and a joint venture business in Dubai.
Announcing Ms Walsh’s appointment, Mr Schuurman said that while he was sad to be leaving the Heineken Ireland business after four years to take up another role in the group, he could not wish for a better successor.
“Sharon has been a fantastic member of the management team for many years, and I wish her every success in her new role as managing director,” he said. “Sharon’s broad business knowledge, leadership, creative drive, and competitive spirit will be of great value to drive the next chapter of sustainable and responsible growth at Heineken Ireland.”
Walsh said she is honoured to have been appointed managing director and is excited to take up her new role, noting: “We have a great team at Heineken Ireland, and I’m looking forward to leading the business and working with them, and our customers and stakeholders, to continue to take the business forward.”
Heineken Ireland, which employs 340 people at its historic brewery in Cork and across the country, produces and sells some of Ireland’s leading drinks brands. Its portfolio includes Heineken, Heineken 0.0%, Birra Moretti, Coors, Orchard Thieves, Murphy’s, Beamish, and Ireland’s newest disruptor of the stout category, Islands Edge.
Walsh has led the Heineken Ireland sales organisation in Ireland over the past three years, a period which was characterised by some of the longest and toughest hospitality sector Covid closures in Europe. During this period, she showed huge resilience, as she maintained energy and momentum for the wider team.
Walsh also played a key role in delivering €19 million worth of pandemic-related support for the hospitality sector, as Heineken took back hundreds of thousands of kegs of its lager, cider, and stout brands free of charge, and implemented a range of targeted supports to stimulate the recovery of the hospitality sector. Under her leadership, the company introduced a new e-business to business platform, Smart Pub, which is now the preferred ordering platform in the industry in Ireland.
Walsh joined Heineken Ireland as marketing director in 2011 and oversaw a significant move into the cider sector for the company and an expansion of its overall brand portfolio. The successful launch of Orchard Thieves cider in Ireland sparked a roll out of the brand in many other countries across the world.
Following Orchard Thieves’ success in Ireland, Walsh was appointed Heineken’s global cider director in 2016. During her period working at the company’s headquarters in Amsterdam, she further shaped Heineken’s global leadership in cider, with a clear business strategy, new innovations and variety of flavours and tastes. In 2020, she returned to Ireland and took the opportunity to expand her experience into sales becoming commercial director.
Before joining Heineken, Walsh gained broad marketing experience in the drinks industry, holding roles with UDV, Diageo and Coca-Cola.
A native of Dublin, Walsh has a Degree and Higher Diploma in Hotel and Catering Management, and a Master’s Degree in Strategic International Marketing from DCU. She married and has three children and in her spare time she is a Board Member of the Gavin Glynn Foundation, a children’s cancer charity close to her heart.