Heineken Company Analysis Case Study

Founded in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1864 by Gerard Heineken, Heineken N.V. is a brewing company with an international presence in different parts of the world (Heineken). The company operates in 190 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Americans, Asia Pacific, and the United States with over 165 breweries producing over 300 brands of specialty beers and ciders (Heineken). Globally, Heineken employs 85,000 employees, and this number is expected to increase in the coming years with the expansion of operations internationally.

The company’s leadership is made up of experienced leaders with diverse backgrounds and unrivaled expertise in their key operation areas. The current CEO is Jean-François van Boxmeer, and he has been in that position since 2005 (Heineken). An Executive Board, which is appointed in an annual general meeting, is tasked with managing the company’s affairs. Members of this board include the current CEO as the chairperson and Laurence Debroux, the company’s CFO.

Under the Executive Board is the Executive Team, made up of eight members – four regional presidents, the two members of the Executive Board, and four Chief Officers (Heineken). Two Executive Directors and ten members of the Supervisory Board complete the leadership structure of the company. Heineken’s mission is to become a proud, independent, and global brewer focused on surprising and exciting its consumers. Its vision is to win all markets with the Heineken brand.


SWOT Analysis

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Strong financial position
  • Large asset base
  • Strong distribution network with outlets in 190 countries
  • Low cost structure – allows low pricing of products
  • Differentiated products with over 300 brands
  • Intellectual properties in trademarks and patents
  • Strategic partnerships with distributors, suppliers, retailers, and other stakeholders
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Limited investment in research and development
  • High day sales inventory – adds unwarranted costs to business
  • Lack of diversified workforce
  • Poor market research
  • Decision-making affected by family members (it is a family business)
  • High employee turnover
  • Low levels of current assets vs. current liabilities
  • Highly centralized decision-making
  • Poor margins
  • Currency fluctuations
Opportunities Threats
  • E-commerce – the company could capitalize on the Internet proliferation to boost sales
  • Social media – to create brand awareness
  • Growing market for beer and cider in developing countries
  • It can leverage technology to streamline operations
  • Emerging niche markets
  • Government support for environment friendly products
  • Stiff competition from established market players – Example: merger between Anheuser Busch and Sab Miller
  • High supplier bargain power
  • New entrants
  • Political uncertainties
  • Fluctuating interest rates internationally
  • Changing customer tastes
  • Changing regulations in international markets
  • Availability of substitute products

PESTEL Analysis

Political factors
  • As an international brand, Heineken is subject to varied tax regimes in different countries of operation
  • Governments in developing world are encouraging and supporting foreign investment
  • Strict regulations for alcohol sale and advertisement in different countries
Economic factors
  • The beer industry is saturated with big players claiming large market share
  • The threat of new entrants
  • Unbalanced demand and supply in different countries
  • Stiff competition from industry players
  • Threat of recession
Social factors
  • Religious opposition of alcohol consumption
  • Health concerns associated with alcohol consumption
  • Human capital development is needed in different countries
  • Trainings should be done to increase knowledge of resources
Technological factors
  • Technological advancement to streamline operations
  • The opportunity to refine the brewing process through technology
  • Reduced costs of operation and distribution by leveraging technology
Environmental factors
  • The need to engage in environmentally sustainable business practices
  • The duty to protect the environment
Legal factors
  • Intellectual property rights have to be protected legally
  • Contractual agreements vary from country to country
  • Legal factors associated with campaigns against excessive drinking, drunk driving, and drinking age restrictions
  • Increased taxation to discourage alcohol consumption


Heineken should consider the several recommendations to improve its market share and remain competitive internationally. It should leverage the Internet to accelerate its e-commerce presence and use the social media to create brand awareness in both established and emerging markets. In addition, it should expand its market share through mergers and acquisitions in different parts of the world. On top of deploying innovation to create environment-friendly products to appeal to environment conscious consumers, it should develop healthy drinks targeting the niche market of healthy conscious consumers.

The company needs to capitalize on its strong distribution network to outcompete new entrants and big brands and use technology and innovation to reduce cost of production, hence low pricing of products to improve competitiveness. It also needs to invest in research and development together with market research and finally provide incentives and other benefits to reduce turnover rates. Implementing these recommendations will enable the company to achieve its mission objectives.


Heineken is an established beer and cider brand, which has been in operation for the last 156 year since its foundation in 1864 in Amsterdam, Holland. The company’s presence spans over 170 countries, and it produces over 300 brands of specialty beers and ciders under the leadership of the current CEO, Jean-François van Boxmeer. Its leadership structure has an Executive Board at the top, followed by the Executive Team – made up of eight members.

Executive Directors and a ten-member Supervisory Board complete the leadership structure of the company. Heineken has various strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as discussed in this paper. Additionally, the PESTEL analysis shows the various political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal factors that affects the company’s operations internationally.

Work Cited

Heineken: The World’s Most International Brewer. Heineken Company, 2020. Web.

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