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Top people moves in drinks: August-September

Kirsteen Campbell, master whisky maker, The Macallan

Whisky label The Macallan has strengthened its production team, and named Kirsteen Campbell as its first master whisky maker.

The Edrington-owned Scotch brand is investing in its “Whisky Mastery” team by creating a string of new job roles to “continue delivering the outstanding quality, natural colour and distinctive aromas and flavours of The Macallan,” according to a statement from Edrington.

The six-strong team includes: Kirsteen Campbell, master whisky maker; Stuart MacPherson, Master of Wood; Sarah Burgess, Lead Whisky Maker; Polly Logan, Whisky Maker; Steven Bremner, Whisky Maker; and Russell Greig, Sample Room Assistant.

The Macallan said it has created a new Master of Wood role to “reflect the complete whisky making process and the vital influence of wood on the character of The Macallan whisky.”

Campbell joined Edrington in 2007 as a Whisky Quality Technologist, and has worked for a number of the spirits group’s brands including Cutty Sark, Naked Grouse, The Famous Grouse and The Glenrothes.

She holds a Diploma in Distilling and has also worked at the Scotch Whisky Research Institute. Campell will transition to the position from her current role within the parent company.

Campbell said: “Having been a part of the wider Edrington whisky making team for over a decade, I’m really looking forward to working more closely with the team at The Macallan.”

Igor Boyadjian, managing director of The Macallan, said the new team “will use their skills and craft to continue to create and enhance our exceptional portfolio of whiskies.”

“In the wake of the first anniversary of the new distillery, The Macallan is experiencing continued global growth and success, enjoying growing demand in new markets.”

Lee Applbaum, CMO, Surterra Wellness

Patrón’s Lee Applbaum has made the move from super-premium spirits to the fast-growing cannabis wellness industry

In September, Lee Applbaum, the former chief marketing officer for Patrón Tequila and Grey Goose vodka, joined Atlanta-based cannabis firm Surterra Wellness as its CMO.

Medical marijuana startup Surterra Wellness is one of America’s fastest-growing wellness companies offering a variety of cannabis-based products, from vapourizer pens and tinctures to oral sprays, creams, patches and gels.

Applbaum left his role at Patrón and Grey Goose at the end of August and will work with Surterra’s leadership team to “build iconic cannabis brands” that “improve the wellbeing of consumers”.

Applbaum will lead the group’s global marketing, product innovation, retail and sales initiatives.

“Lee is one of the most extraordinary brand builders in the business and having him join our executive leadership team is a big win for Surterra,” said Wrigley.

“As an accomplished senior marketing expert, Lee is exceptional at branding products in ways consumers connect with authentically, engaging with consumers at the right moments, and making the complex simple – all critically important in the cannabis business.

“Lee also shares our consumer-first mindset and our aim to be the gold standard in the business,” he added.

“Surterra is creating the blueprint for leadership in the cannabis space based on a strong ethos, which I immediately identified with having come from brands with a heritage of ethos.

“I’m excited to make the leap from luxury spirits to the dynamic cannabis industry because of Beau Wrigley’s vision for Surterra and the industry,” said Applbaum.

“I’m honoured to join a team of the most experienced and game-changing leaders of global iconic companies and brands to create innovative cannabis products and authentic brands that will make a big impact on the wellbeing of consumers,” he added.

 Christine Parkinson leaves Hakkasan

In September it was reported that Hakkasan’s longstanding head of wine, Christine Parkinson, had left the restaurant group in a sudden and unexpected move.

The drinks business has approached Hakkasan for comment at the time but, no statement was forthcoming.

The news broke on 17 September with a report on Imbibe.

Parkinson is a well-respected on-trade industry veteran and has been a part of the Hakkasan Group since 2001.

As well as helping design lists that have been widely praised for their inventiveness and scope – Jancis Robinson MW once called her the “one of the most creative wine buyers in the UK” – Parkinson has helped develop and nurture a host of sommelier talent through a training programme she had devised.

She went on to head up the group’s wine and sake operations worldwide as it expanded to the US and Asia and also created one of London’s first major sake lists at Sake No Hana.

Sharing her love for both wine and Sake, Parkinson is a WSET Certified Educator, and has run wine and sake courses for Hakkasan staff across three continents, leading Hakkasan Group to win WSET Educator of the Year.

Aldi appoints new managers and restructures team

Buying director Josh Heley will head up the strategic side of the category alongside Iain McFadyen

In September, Aldi announced it had restructured its wine buying team, introducing two new buying manager roles to enable buying directors to concentrate on overall strategy, and has divided the buying team by colour rather than by country.

Josh Heley, who was appointed as a wine buying director in February from another part of the business, and Iain McFadyen, who has spend ten years in the operations side of the business, will head up the wine buying team, with Andrew Clarke, former purchasing manager at Greene King, and Lucy Pemberton taking on the newly created roles of wine manager.

The appointment of the managers will allows Heley and McFadyen to concentrate on the strategic and operations side of the business, Heley told db.

“The biggest change is that it frees us as directors to do more on the strategic side, hopefully it will allows us to do more visits, trade shows, the manager will manage the assistants more closely,” he said.

“It’s giving us the opportunity to focus on the right place, to look at the data, at what our competitors are doing, at new products and forge the right range,” McFadyen added. “The manager role alleviates the buying director role, to understand the market and do the vision of the category.”

The retailer is also changing the way the wine assistant team, who report in to Clarke and Pemberton, buys wine, opting for dividing buying by colour rather than country. “You used to have a wine assistant who bought for Chile, Argentina, and North America etc, but we’ve changed that for a colour instead.” Heley explained, adding that all the retailer’s internal systems are set up to report by colour rather than by country.

The changes follow the promotion of Aldi’s highly respected UK wine director Mike James to a global sourcing role within the retailer.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive, BBPA

In September The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) appointed a pro-Brexit former MEP and spokesperson for international trade for the Conservative Party as its new chief executive.

Emma McClarkin was a Conservative MEP for the East Midlands for 10 years before stepping down earlier this year.

She will replace outgoing boss Brigid Simmonds, who is leaving the organisation to head up the Betting and Gaming Council at the start of November.

The BBPA said she was a political communications expert with a “wealth of experience” influencing regulatory frameworks, setting strategy and communicating messages on a global level, as well as being a trade specialist and negotiator, having worked with the BBPA, Brewers of Europe and Spirits Europe.

While working in Brussels, McClarkin chaired the Commonwealth Forum, was a director of Global Policy for the Sports Integrity Global Alliance and is a Special Advisory Board Member at the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council. She was also Vice President of the European Parliament Beer Club during her tenure as an MEP.

BBPA chairman, Simon Emeny said she has a “genuine passion for beer and pubs”, combined with the technical skills needed to represent the industry’s interests.

“She has drive and enthusiasm and I’m excited about the energy she brings to the role,” he said.

He also commended Simmonds on her “incredible legacy” and decade of “excellent results”, adding that he was looking forward to seeing how McClarkin builds on this and “utilises her past experience and connections to further the success of British pubs and beer.”

McClarkin said the British pub sector “provides a home for the amazing beers we brew in the UK as well as a hub for local produce and local people. The industry is a showcase for innovation and how business can contribute to society and I’m looking forward to telling that story in my new role.

“I’m excited to be leading the BBPA as it continues to make sure that this great community asset is protected, that British beer continues to be revered on the national and international stage, and that our industry is recognised for the amazing contribution it makes to the economy and the social fabric of Britain.”

Laurent Fresnet, cellar master, Champagne Mumm

Last month it was announced that Laurent Fresnet, formerly the cellar master at Champagne Henriot, was to move to Champagne Mumm, taking over from Didier Mariotti.

The son of a Champagne grower and winemaker, Fresnet was appointed cellar master at Reims-based Champagne Henriot in 2006.

He will continue in his role at Henriot until the end of this year, moving to Pernod Ricard-owned Mumm in January.

After studying oenology, biology and biochemistry at Reims, Fresnet spent time working in New Zealand, South Africa and Portugal.

Returning to his homeland, he was a winemaker in the south of France for three years before moving back to Champagne to join producer Cazals in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger for seven years. Before joining Henriot, he was the director of cooperative La Vigneronne in Vertus.

Christophe Danneaux, vice president of Pernod Ricard’s Champagne division, said: “For nearly 200 years, Maison Mumm has a passion for both the quality of its wines and innovation. We are convinced that Laurent Fresnet will perfectly fit into this philosophy.”

Former Pernod Ricard CEO Pierre Pringuet to resign from board

In September it was announced that Pernod Ricard’s former CEO, Pierre Pringuet, was to resign from the French drinks giant’s board of directors at its next annual general meeting on 8 November.

Pringuet joined Pernod in 1987, becoming joint-CEO with Richard Burrows in 2000 and group CEO in 2008. He was succeeded by Alexandre Ricard in 2015.

In 2005 he successfully led the acquisition and integration of Allied Domecq, doing the same for Vin&Spirit and its hero brand, Absolut Vodka, in 2008.

He has volunteered to resign from Pernod Ricard on 8 November alongside academic Martina Gonzalez-Gallarza, who joined the board in 2012, while independent director Nicole Bouton has elected not to stand for reappointment.

Aerospace technology executive Philippe Petitcolin and consumer goods executive Esther Berrozpe Galindo have been appointed to Pernod Ricard’s board – a move that will be submitted for shareholder approval at the AGM.

“For me, Pierre Pringuet will always be a brilliant and visionary mentor. There is no question that the group would not have become this French leader without his boldness and his exceptional work capacity. Pernod is, and will forever be, grateful to him,” said Pernod’s CEO Alexandre Ricard.

“For seven years Martina has provided our company her specialist knowledge of consumers, who have been placed at the centre of our business model.

“Lastly, I would like to commend the work of Nicole, who has played a pivotal role in the ongoing process to extend the board’s competencies,” he added.

Sam Linter, director, WineGB

In August, WineGB, the trade body representing the English and Welsh wine industry, bolstered its board with the appointment of Bolney Wine Estate’s Sam Linter.

Linter, who is managing director and lead winemaker at the Sussex-based wine estate, will join the board of WinesGB as a director with immediate effect. She is one of three directors appointed to represent the larger growers and producers.

WineGB chairman Simon Robinson said he was delighted Linter has joined the WineGB Board.

“Her commitment to WineGB and its success is clear and unequivocal: in the last two years she has led the industry’s export committee and, in that position, has driven that agenda forwards with considerable pace and success,” he said. 

Former Majestic Wine manager director John Colley to rejoin company

In August, it was announced that Majestic’s former managing director, John Colley, was to rejoin Majestic, following its sale to Fortress Bank earlier that month.

Colley, who apparently advised Fortress during the acquisition, The Sunday Times reported yesterday, has quit his role as chief trading officer at DIY group Kingfisher and is understood to be rejoining Majestic where he was managing director between 2015-2017.

Colley was credited with a key part in the turnaround of Majestic Retail following its acquisition by Naked Wines, rebuilding the drinks business’ senior leadership team, and helped improve customer service and shopper loyalty. He was instrumental in a major overhaul of the retail stores and online business, refitting stores to make them easier to navigate and restock, and rolled out click-and-collect and next-day deliveries, telling db at the time he wanted to make the wine specialist ‘the Apple Store’ of wine, by better syncing the online and off-line experience for customers. He also launched a new employee share and reward scheme to boost staff retention and pave the way for greater autonomy in stores.

Colley left Majestic in July 2017 to become chief executive at Hobbycraft, but stepped down after just eight weeks in the role, apparently saying that it wasn’t “the right fit”.

Within a few months he had rejoined former employer Kingfisher, the owners of B&Q and Screwfix, where he had previously been commercial director, with responsibility for overall group trading and pricing strategy.

Justin Knock MW leaves California Wine Institute 

Damien Jackman and Justine McGovern are the joint UK directors of the California Wine Institute

In August it was announced that Justin Knock MW had left his role as the UK director of the California Wine Institute, and the UK team would now be led by joint directors, Justine McGovern and Damien Jackman.

Knock, who joined the CWI in November 2016 as both a trade representative and brand ambassador promoting California wine in the UK, has left his role, the CWI said in a statement.

“The CWI team thank Justin for his time working on California wine and wish him the best for future wine endeavours,” the statement added.

The news follows the recent appointment of Honore Comfort as the California Wine Institute’s vice president of international marketing at the firm’s HQ in San Francisco.

Comfort joined the team in April and brings extensive experience in international wine marketing, brand strategy and wine export sales to the role.

“As we begin our new fiscal year, we are mapping out our strategies and growth plans, not only for this year, but for the next 3-5 years. It’s an exciting time for California wine with up and coming winemakers making fresh, appealing wines and looking for new markets,” Comfort said.

“At the same time, there is a long history of innovation in California’s wine industry that is not well known. We are thrilled to have Justine and Damien in the UK bringing these wines, and the stories behind them, to the market,” she added.

Tony Latham, CFO, Bacardi

(Photo: Bacardi)

In August it was revealed that Unilever exec Tony Latham was set to join Bacardi as the new chief financial officer and executive vice-president from September.

Latham spend eight years at Unilever, most recently as executive vice president finance – group performance management, with responsibility for leading operational finance across the company’s three divisions and eight regions, having previously worked for Danone. He also has extensive experience working in the emerging markets of Asia, having been based in Shanghai, Bankok, Indonesia as well as his native Australia.

As part of his new role, Latham will oversee revenue growth management, global business services and information technology at Bacardi, in addition to his financial activities.

Bacardi CEO Mahesh Madhavan said it had been important to ensure that the team recruited a purpose driven leader with an impeccable business background for the role, as well as someone who appreciated the culture of the company.

“In Tony we have found these qualities and more,” he said.

Lathan said it was “an honour” to join a company with “a strong culture, enduring values, iconic brands and incredible business opportunities to bring more people together for exceptional drinks experiences”.

Martin Robinson, non-executive chairperson, Innis & Gunn

In September, Scottish craft brewer Innis & Gunn has appointed Martin Robinson as non-executive chairperson.

Robinson is also chairman of Burger King UK, Parkdean Resorts and Inspiring Learning. He is has experience working with retail and consumer brands and was also director of Scottish & Newcastle’s pub division as well as working as working in the beer industry as a consultant when at Mckinsey & Co.

He has also chaired Center Parcs in the UK and Europe, as well as Wagamama, Casual Dining group and Holmes Place Health Clubs, and sat for many years on the boards of Disneyland Paris and Regus.

Dougal Gunn Sharp, Innis & Gunn founder and master brewer, said: “Martin is a strong addition to our team and his appointment comes at a key time for our business. The potential of Innis & Gunn lager and our resurgent Innis & Gunn Brewery Taproom bars is clear. Our mission in the coming years is to build upon their success alongside the international acceleration of Innis & Gunn Original, our flagship brand.

“Martin brings a wealth of retail, brand building and strategic management expertise as we embark on some of our biggest strategic initiatives to date, including the building of the Innis & Gunn Brewery in Edinburgh.: 

Commenting on his appointment, Martin Robinson, said: “I have a great fondness for the beer and pub industry and am very excited to be joining Innis & Gunn as it gears up for its next phase of rapid expansion both domestically and abroad.

“I’ve been very impressed by Dougal and his team and the fantastic results they’ve achieved with their beers and bars thus far, particularly the performance of their lager in Scotland and the strength of the International business. To be part of the team which builds a new brewery in Edinburgh and expands the business from its Scottish heartland will be a great honour and one which I relish.”

New Zealand Winegrowers appoint two new general managers

NZ Wine has appointed Charlotte Read as general manager of marketing and Ed Massey as general manager of sustainability.

Read is to start at the company on 22 October having spent 10 years as export manager for Villa Maria Estate, based in both Europe and China. Her latest role was customer manager at NZTE, where she managed a portfolio of high calibre companies exporting globally.

With a love of wine that began when she was growing up in Hawke’s Bay, Read said: “I am really excited about joining the team at New Zealand Winegrowers, and continuing to strengthen the reputation of our incredible wines on the international stage. The real clincher for me, is my love for the wine industry which has been a part of me since my upbringing on a vineyard in Hawke’s Bay.

“My past twenty years of global marketing, project management and sales experience are all so relevant for me to hit the ground running to deliver a world class, innovative marketing effort for our nation’s wine industry.”

Massey joins in the newly created role of GM for sustainability. His role will involve a key focus on ensuring sustainability is embedded throughout all activities of New Zealand Winegrowers as well as working with the Environment Committee, and enhancing New Zealand Winegrowers relationship with regional wine associations.

Starting in September in his new role, he was formerly biosecurity manager of NZ Wine.

Massey commented: “I am passionate about this industry and I look forward to working with members to protect and enhance our position as world leaders in sustainable wine production.”

Maggie Macpherson, buyer, Jeroboams

In August, London wine merchant appointed Maggie Macpherson as its new buyer. Macpherson has spent the past eight years in a buying role at Enotria & Coe.

Working alongside wine director Peter Mitchell MW and Martin Tickle the fine wine buyer, she will be responsible for all buying decisions (excluding Bordeaux and Burgundy).

Peter Mitchell MW, commented: “With Paul (Stringer) moving to New Zealand after over 20 years, it was an exciting challenge to fill the role. We knew we needed a tenacious and skilled buyer, with the ability to fit within our ethos and work alongside our passionate and experienced team. Maggie brings thorough understanding and exceptional knowledge of the buying world, and we are very much looking forward to her injecting her enthusiasm and determination to our department, and our business.”

Macpherson added: “I’m so delighted to be working with Jeroboams. With an established reputation for premium wines and customer retention and engagement, I’m stepping into a dreamy job, working alongside great people. I’m ready for the challenge and will continue to curate a range of wines that sets the agenda for independent wine retail in the UK.”

Hugh Sturges, managing director added: “I am delighted that Maggie is joining Jeroboams and look forward to working with her and my other colleagues in retail and in the on trade, to continue to cement Jeroboams’ position as London’s Local Wine Merchant, with our focus on interesting wines alongside great customer service.”

James Snoxell, fine wine buyer, Bancroft Wines

In August, London-based Bancroft Wines announced the appointment of James Snoxell as its fine wine buyer. Snoxell had formerly spent 10 years at Armit Wines as head of buying .

Bancroft Wines buying director Barney Davis commented: “James brings with him a wealth of experience and strong connections, and we are very pleased he is joining the Bancroft team.

“By putting added focus on fine wine we hope to provide better service and products to our restaurant, retail and private clients who are at the core of our business.”



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