Bacardi searches for new CMO for Grey Goose and Patrón

Bacardi is looking for a new Chief marketing officer for Grey Goose and Patrón, after announcing that Lee Applbaum is to step down at the end of August.

The company confirmed it was focussing on external candidates in order to bring “diverse experience and a luxury and lifestyle lens” to its premium and super-premium tequila and vodka brand, with the successful candidate working closely with global CMO John Burke and serving on the Bacardi Global Leadership Team.

Bacardi CEO Mahesh Madhavan described Applbaum as a brilliant marketer and brand builder and thanked him for his six years leading PATRÓN as well as his more recent work reinvigorating the Grey Goose brand through a new and prolific marketing and creative platform that he said showed “fantastic promise right out of the gate”.

Applbaum joined Patrón Spirits International from Australian retailer Target in 2013, before it was acquired by Bacardi in April 2018, and expanded his role by heading up global marketing for the company’s premium vodka brand Grey Goose last August.

He said the two brands “defined their respective categories” and sat proudly together behind the world’s best bars. “It has been a true honour to work on these two iconic brands, which has been the most fulfilling years of my career,” he said, before adding that he would remain a “passionate evangelist” for the brands.

He is resigning to pursue other opportunities outside the company and spend more time with his family, the company added, but would remain affiliated with the company as a special advisor to the Board of Directors of Bacardi International Limited.

The company said Applbaum’s departure paved the way for new opportunities for leaders from Bacardi’s “long bench of brand and marketing talent”, as it announced the promotion of Adrian Parker, digital marketing for Patrón and Grey Goose, to the role of Vice President Global Marketing, Patrón Tequila, reporting to Applbaum’s successor. Parker will oversee all integrated marketing activities for the tequila brand, but the company has yet to appoint anyone to lead the integrated marketing for Grey Goose.

Yesterday the company confirmed it was ending its UK distribution deal with spirits giant Brown-Forman after a 17-year partnership.

The sale of Patrón to Bacardi last year in a deal worth US$5,1 billion represented one of the most expensive deals ever made for a spirits brand, elevating Bacardi to the top spirits player in the super-premium segment in the US, and the second largest spirits company in market share by value in America.

At the end of the year, the president and CEO of Patròn Spirits International and The Patrón Spirits Company, Ed Brown, retired after nearly 20 years with the company.

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