The Anheuser-Busch CEO whose bid to quell the backlash over Bud Light’s Dylan Mulvaney debacle came off as flat as a beer left out in the sun was a CIA spy handler before heading up the brewing behemoth.
Brendan Whitworth formerly worked as an officer in the CIA’s counterterrorism center, where he recruited and handled intel informants before becoming a private-sector executive, according to The Official Board.
Whitworth has been roundly blasted over his statement Friday in response to Bud Light’s controversial decision to partner with Mulvaney, a transgender activist and social media influencer.
“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” Whitworth said in a statement Friday. “We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”
The statement contained no mea culpa and no mention of Mulvaney or the radical transgender ideology he espouses. Many beer drinkers have rejected Bud Light, once the nation’s most popular beer, with distributors complaining they can’t sell it and bartenders around the country saying no one orders it anymore.
But the 46-year-old Whitworth, a Harvard Business School grad who is reportedly a registered Republican, doesn’t exactly fit the profile of a typical “woke” CEO, perhaps making his widely-criticized statement even more shocking.
After high school, Whitworth, a successful student-athlete, decided to go to school to be a doctor, following in his father’s footsteps. The desire for a medical degree was short-lived though, as Whitworth ended up attending Officer Candidates School (OSC) before his senior year at Bucknell. He spent another three years in the Marines after graduating from OCS, until 2001.
Whitworth told Fox Business last year that he felt called to serve his country, citing his family roots and his gratitude for America. The CEO also said his grandfather worked with the FBI under President Herbert Hoover and ran training in Quantico, Virginia.
“I felt fortunate to have been born in the United States,” he added. “I felt like I needed to pay that back like I had a bit of indebtedness that I … needed to pay.”
Moving on from the Marines, Whitworth became an officer in the CIA counterterrorism center from 2001-2006, where he “specialized in the recruitment and handling of human sources with access to vital intelligence that prevented and disrupted terrorist threats,” according to his now-removed Linkedin profile.
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