How times change: the shock waves are still rebounding in some quarters from drinks giant Diageo's May announcement that it was to close part of its famous Guinness brewery in Dublin as part of a £520m modernisation drive. But that's only half of the old 1759-vintage operation, after all, and Diageo will of course continue to sell us the Black Stuff, as well as its other refreshing brews - it being the world's biggest alcohol company, created back in 1997 through a series of mergers. Its brands include not just Guinness but Bushmills, Smirnoff and Bailey's.
In October last year Diageo's then CIO Robin Dargue left to join the Royal Mail, being replaced by Brian Franz, who joined finally in March, being headhunted from PepsiCo International, where he was senior VP and CIO. He will report direct to Diageo chair Nick Rose.
Franz is expected to do little to change Dargue's architecture, which centred on extensive use of SAP across all Diageo's 180 markets and geographies. Diageo also has two more years at least to run on its £300m, seven year outsourcing deal with IBM Global Services it signed in 2003, which was supposed to be run on the then trendy pay-per-usage model; it still has a 450-strong internal IS function which Franz will manage. In any case, the agreement was supposed to standardise and consolidate the drink giant's then somewhat messy internal structure, technology-wise.