a special supplement of ACC Docket 3
DRINKING FROM A FOUNTAIN: HOW PABLO JIMENEZ-ZORRILLA BECAME VP LEGAL & CORPORATE AFFAIRS AT AB INBEV MIDDLE AMERICAS
“In my opinion, the in-house community
is getting more sophisticated and appealing.
Issues are becoming more complex, and that
requires a holistic understanding of the business and its environment,” he explains.
In five years, Jimenez-Zorrilla aspires to
see the company expand its position in the
global beer community, while maintaining its
successes in Mexico. By supporting AB InBev
in its mission to “bring people together for a
better world,” he intends to, in turn, continue
to “drink from the fountain.”
Throughout his life, Jimenez-Zorrilla has
never turned down an opportunity. With every
new experience, he has pulled from the guidance
of his peers, constantly working to better himself
both as a lawyer and as a person. It’s his hope
that one day, he can impart the same tenacity,
ambition, and positive attitude — which proved
to be keys to his own success — on to the next
generation of in-house lawyers. AB
Recently, the company has set its sights on
expansion throughout Latin America, by first
integrating with operations in Honduras and
El Salvador. Fortunately, the countries function
under similar processes and standards, including contract management, compliance issues,
corporate communications, and sustainability
— making for a relatively easy transition of company policy. While seemingly straightforward,
however, the rapid socioeconomic growth in
Latin America can sometimes make it difficult
to determine whether expansion could compromise the quality of the product.
“It can at times be difficult to keep up with
innovations in order to make sure we both facilitate the business, and at the same time, ensure
that our company is not taking any shortcuts
from legal or regulatory standpoints. Still, it is an
extremely exciting possibility,” he says.
However, faced with a new US administration, cross-border interactions in North
America may become increasingly difficult
moving forward. Considering this transition,
Jimenez-Zorrilla emphasizes the significance
of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in both AB Inbev’s and Grupo
Modelo’s international business offerings. He
underscores the importance of strengthening the region as a whole, arguing that North
America has a lot to offer the global legal and
“As you know, NAFTA is under revision
and potential re-negotiation. Hopefully this
opportunity is used to update and modernize
our international trade framework and capitalize our position as a competitive region in the
world,” he states.
In recent years, Mexico has become a
global leader in trade, manufacturing, and
innovation. Although it ranks low on the
transparency and corruption scale, the
country is undergoing reforms to increase
its standing on the international playing
field. To Jimenez-Zorrilla, Mexico’s dynamic
landscape represents a fantastic opportunity
for in-house lawyers who can keep up with
Getting to Know .... Pablo Jimenez-Zorrilla
WHAT BOOK ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING AND WHY?
The Founder’s Mentality, by Chris Zook and James
Allen. It was a present from Marcel Telles, one of the
shareholders and board members of AB InBev. Every year,
he sends a book as a present to partners of the company.
Topics of the book are discussed at a senior leadership
convention held once a year. This year, Marcel sent us
three books and this was one of them. It is about the
importance of keeping a founder’s mentality — including
an owner’s mindset, an insurgency attitude, and a frontline obsession — during the lifetime of a company.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING FOR YOUR NEXT VACATION?
Hopefully, the Caribbean. My wife wanted to visit
40 countries before her 40th birthday — which
was on March 6. She is still missing a couple,
so this is an easy way to reach the toll!
IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ANYONE,
LIVING OR DEAD, WHO WOULD IT BE?
Bill and Melinda Gates. I would love to hear
first-hand about their switch from a “corporate
lifestyle” to a career filled with passion and 100
percent dedication to making a better world.