A new book on InBev's 2008 acquisition of Anheuser-Busch doesn't paint the most flattering picture of August Busch III and his son, August Busch IV.
In Dethroning the King
, author Julie MacIntosh (a reporter with the Financial Times) writes that Busch III's spending sprees as CEO of the St. Louis-based brewer made it vulnerable to acquisition.
Meanwhile, his son Busch IV is portrayed as an out-of-touch executive who could never fully emerge from his father's shadow and who preferred working from home or the St. Louis Soccer Park in Fenton over his office on Pestalozzi Street.
Writes MacIntosh in an excerpt from the book:
The Fourth was feeling frustratingly ineffective and hamstrung by his father, and his increasingly distant attitude had rubbed off on the rest of the strategy
committee. "The cat's away, the mice will play," one of them said.
"He increasingly was getting lazy about coming to the office," this
person added. "He said, 'My war room is the soccer park.' But not
really. We'd do meetings at his house, we'd do meetings at the soccer
park, and because he flew a lot, we'd meet at Spirit, at the hangar.
We'd have a lot of meetings there. "It was reminiscent of times in
the past when The Fourth, as the company's marketing head, would
disappear from the office for days and force his deputies to track him
down if work needed to be done. "He just never went to the office, "
the strategy committee member said. "He never did. And that was a
shame, because I think that was one of his big mistakes."
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