Maggie Timoney reaches Heineken USA’s top post after 20 years with the company.
Maggie Timoney
Credit: Courtesy of Heineken

Though the beer industry has been making a push to appeal more to both sexes, beer still remains a boys club. According to the site Women in Craft Beer (who have some skin in the game on this issue), only 29 percent of brewery workers are female, only about 17 percent of craft breweries have a female CEO, and only 4 percent of breweries have a female head brewer. The numbers aren’t particularly better for America’s largest breweries where a female had never held the position of CEO—until this week, that is.

Heineken USA—the American brewing arm of the massive Netherlands-based brewery—announced that Maggie Timoney, a 25-year beer industry veteran who first joined Heineken in 1998, will be taking over as CEO on September 1, a move the brand says makes her the first woman to lead a major U.S. beer supplier. She returns home to the U.S. to join Heineken’s American team after spending the past five years abroad as CEO of Heineken Ireland.

We’ve previously seen female CEOs at some of the largest craft brewers: For instance, Kim Jordan had a long run as the CEO of New Belgium Brewing, currently America’s 11th largest brewery (according to Brewers Association data), before stepping down a few years ago, and Laura Bell recently had a stint as CEO at Bell’s Brewery, America’s 16th largest brewery. But as America’s fourth largest brewing company, Heineken USA is only bested in size by some of the beer industry’s biggest names—Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, and Constellation (best known for selling Corona)—and Timoney is set to be the first woman to lead a top five beer U.S. beer producer.

“Maggie is a competitive and energetic leader who is known for inspiring teams, operationalizing plans and mobilizing organizations to deliver business results,” Marc Busain, Heineken Americas Region President, said in the announcement. “She understands the challenges and opportunities that exist within the U.S. market and she has the right mix of strategic vision, people leadership and grit to ignite future growth for Heineken USA.”

Still, Timoney’s rise up the beer ranks is not the norm. According to AdAge, the alcohol company with the highest percentage of women leaders is spirits giant Diageo—but even then, only 40 percent of its executive directors are women. Meanwhile, at the global beer conglomerate AB InBev, none of its 18-member management team is a woman.