By Nina Trentmann and Jennifer Maloney
Felipe Dutra, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA's departing finance chief, said he is leaving the world's biggest brewer to seek a new challenge after 15 years in the role.
"It's been a long journey," Mr. Dutra said in a brief interview Thursday. "I want to do something else in life now." He didn't elaborate.
The company also declined to provide more details on the reason behind the departure, which was announced Wednesday. But two people familiar with the matter said Mr. Dutra left the company because he mismanaged the initial public offering of the company's Asian business. The unit went public in September, after AB InBev called off an earlier IPO attempt, citing market conditions.
Mr. Dutra misjudged investor appetite for the listing, one of the people said. Mr. Dutra didn't immediately respond to a request for additional comment.
Leuven, Belgium-based AB InBev said Wednesday that Mr. Dutra would step down after the company's annual meeting on April 29. He will be succeeded by Fernando Tennenbaum, the company's vice president of finance for South America.
Mr. Dutra, 54 years old, said he thinks AB InBev is in good shape and that his priority now is to manage the transition to Mr. Tennenbaum. Mr. Dutra will remain with the company -- the maker of beers such as Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck's -- for several months after the handover, according to AB InBev.
Mr. Dutra has been AB InBev's CFO since January 2005, and in 2014 added the title of chief technology officer to his role. He played a key role in building the company by striking deals to integrate assets including Interbrew, Anheuser-Busch International, Modelo and SABMiller, according to analysts at Jefferies Financial Group.
"After closing all these actions -- for example, the integration of SABMiller, deleveraging -- it is a chapter that I am closing," Mr. Dutra said. He added that his long tenure had caused him to grow comfortable in his job as finance and technology chief.
Mr. Dutra's departure is part of a wider management shake-up at AB InBev that includes the appointment of David Almeida as the company's chief strategy and technology officer and Nelson Jamel as chief people officer. The moves come less than a year into the tenure of Chairman Marty Barrington, who was appointed in March 2019.
"As we move people out of their comfort zone," Mr. Dutra said, "I am moving out of my comfort zone."
Little is expected to change in AB InBev's strategy when Mr. Tennenbaum takes over, and the market might welcome a fresh pair of eyes, analysts at Citigroup Inc. said.
Mr. Tennenbaum, who serves as chief financial and investor relations officer at AB InBev's Brazilian subsidiary, Ambev, is known for his more granular guidance. "A similar approach at the AB InBev group level would be well-received by investors," the Citigroup analysts said.
Lucas Lira, global vice president of finance and mergers and acquisitions at AB InBev, will succeed Mr. Tennenbaum as Ambev's CFO.
AB InBev had $104.5 billion in debt at the end of September, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Mr. Tennenbaum is expected to continue Mr. Dutra's efforts to reduce the company's debt pile while focusing on organic growth, analysts at ING Groep NV said.
"Fernando's mandate will be to ensure AB InBev continues to invest behind the organic growth of the business while deleveraging toward the optimal capital structure," Carlos Brito, AB InBev's chief executive, said in a release.
The company in its latest quarter struggled with declining beer volumes in the U.S., its biggest market, as consumers move away from mainstream lagers such as Budweiser and Bud Light in favor of craft beers and other types of drinks.
Sales in China, Brazil and South Korea were also lower, and higher commodity prices and foreign-exchange losses also hurt earnings.
The company's American depositary receipts, which have declined about 7% this year, were trading at $76.67 recently, unchanged from Wednesday's close.
Saabira Chaudhuri, Mengqi Sun,
contributed to this article.
Write to Nina Trentmann at Nina.Trentmann@wsj.com and Jennifer Maloney at firstname.lastname@example.org