Heineken names Sarah Backhouse as global comms director

She joins the company on November 16.

Sarah Backhouse is moving to Amsterdam to join Heineken.
Sarah Backhouse is moving to Amsterdam to join Heineken.

AMSTERDAM: Heineken has hired Sarah Backhouse as director of global communications.

Backhouse is relocating from Atlanta to Amsterdam for the role, which she is set to start on November 16. She will report to Stacey Tank, chief corporate affairs and transformation officer. 

The last person to hold the global comms director role was Tim van der Zanden, whose next step has not been announced. 

Backhouse will oversee a 10-person team with leaders in sustainability, brand PR, corporate comms, digital channels and employee engagement.

She will lead the development and execution of a medium- and long-term strategy for all external comms, including brand PR, employee engagement, strategic direction to senior management and other Heineken functions, internal comms, issues and crisis comms, stakeholder engagement, financial comms, talent management and budget management. 

“I have been at the nexus of sustainability and communications for many years in different capacities, working in the media, working as an entrepreneur and most recently overseeing the sustainability and comms group at World 50,” said Backhouse. “So I am pretty passionate about that intersection and that is one of the key pillars that Heineken has going forward with Brewing a Better World.”

Through the Brewing a Better World initiative, the company is aiming to align itself with the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals of ending global poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity. Heineken wants to “brew a better world” in every one of its activities from sourcing, producing, marketing and selling its products all the way to how they are consumed and how it can reuse and recycle waste, according to Heineken’s website. 

Backhouse was most recently MD of Chief Executive 50, Communications 50 and Finance 50 at World 50, a network of private communities of senior executives from Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies. She worked with CEOs, CFOs and CCOs to advance their organizational strategies, cultures and beyond. Backhouse’s last day was Wednesday; she was replaced by Meredith Latham.

Previously, Backhouse was founder and CEO of Future360, a digital platform dedicated to raising awareness about clean technology and sustainable innovation. A former TV host, producer and journalist with 15 years of experience, Backhouse has credits from CNBC, BBC, Discovery Channel, Fine Living, Planet Green and Al Gore’s 24 Hours of Reality.

In May, Heineken hired Tank, a former executive at the Home Depot, to return to the company in her Amsterdam-based role. She took over from Blanca Juti, who left the business.

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