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Trading in Guinness stout and Johnnie Walker scotch, Sabine Chalmers now has a lighter drink: Stella Artois. InBev, the world’s largest brewer and maker of beers like Stella and Beck’s, appointed Chalmers as its GC in January. The 39-year-old has the right taste buds for the job, having spent almost 12 years with Diageo plc, maker of international spirits as well as Guinness. She was most recently GC of Diageo North America. Chalmers says she wasn’t looking to leave Diageo when a headhunter called about the position at InBev. But the opportunity was compelling — global legal chief for a newly formed beverage giant. InBev was the product of an ambitious $11.4 billion blending last summer of Belgium’s Interbrew SA and Brazil’s Companhia de Bebidas das Am�ricas (AmBev). InBev’s criteria for the job was just as intriguing. The new global giant wanted a GC with considerable international and deal experience. “They seemed to be looking for a citizen of the world [who was] a businessperson first and a good lawyer second,” Chalmers remembers. And she fit the bill. The daughter of a German father and Indian mother, she grew up in the Philippines and India, traveling extensively as a child. Chalmers earned her law degree from the London School of Economics and then joined Lovell White Durrant (now Lovells) as an associate, specializing in M&A and commercial property transactions in Europe and the United States. She started at Guinness in 1993 as a general commercial counsel, concentrating first on the company’s European markets and then its Latin American operations. Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan to form Diageo in 1997, and in 2000 Chalmers was promoted to GC of the new company’s international markets business. Two years later she became GC of the North American division, which represents approximately 40 percent of Diageo’s business. “I started in European markets and then worked my way around the world,” says Chalmers, laughing. The new GC will focus near-term on building a unified legal team for InBev, carefully mixing the Brazilian and European cultures of the two predecessor companies. InBev currently has about 90 lawyers in 25 countries, with regional general counsel reporting to regional presidents. Chalmers expects to announce modifications to that structure but declined to comment on specific plans. Chalmers will also dig into the companies’ historical relationships with outside counsel, ensuring that InBev is using the right firms for its needs. And she will revaluate the mix of internal to external legal work. InBev has strong ties to Linklaters in Brussels, Sullivan & Cromwell in the United States, Simmons & Simmons in the United Kingdom, and a variety of firms in Brazil. Chalmers is equally willing to make big shifts in her own life. The new gig required moving to InBev’s Belgium headquarters, Chalmers’ fourth move in 12 years. “I have a very supportive husband,” she concedes. Is she getting tired of the jet-setting? Not a chance. “I’ve always been a bit of an adventurer,” she says.

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