Brewing up success

Kurt Tietz, chief operating officer of Carlsberg Canada Inc., explains why he loves working for the world’s fourth-largest brewer.

Q: What made you want to join Carlsberg?

A: It’s a beer company — what’s not to like? In all seriousness though, I was fortunate enough to audit a domestic brewer during my time as a senior accountant at KPMG and I found myself interested in the industry; it was fast-paced and the people were very passionate. When I was presented with the opportunity to join Carlsberg, I didn’t hesitate. Canada has a unique structure when it comes to the brewing industry, due to government regulations, and the relative size of our business within the Carlsberg Group means that I get the chance to work with a significant global player in the industry.

Q: What’s your leadership style?

A: It depends. (Typical answer from an accountant, I know!) In my career, I’ve found one thing to be certain: people are different. The trick is to determine what method will work for each person and what will inspire and motivate them to perform at their best.

Q: With so many divisions around the world, how are you able to keep on top of everything?

A: Carlsberg’s corporate headquarters are in Copenhagen but there is a vast network of subsidiaries around the world. Skype and email have made the globe much smaller and reduced the need for travel, while increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of communication across time zones. We’ve created centres of excellence in the most functional areas. These centres communicate best practices across the entire corporation and provide insights and resources when needed.

Q: Carlsberg lists 447 brands on its website. How do you juggle so many different brands?

A: In Canada, we currently represent 12 beer and cider brands including Carlsberg, Kronenbourg and Somersby Cider. Market dynamics around the sale of alcohol are quite different in Canada than in other countries and even vary from province to province. So our offerings are different in each province and we’re always looking to bring additional group brands to this market where it makes sense. We also offer non-alcohol products (water, soda, etc.).

Q: What’s your beverage of choice?

A: Nothing beats an ice-cold bottle of Carlsberg.

Kurt Tietz worked as a controller for Pattison Outdoor and was a senior accountant at KPMG before joining Carlsberg Canada Inc. 10 years ago.