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Pernod Ricard USA: New organization to accelerate momentum


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"Winning in the USA is a top priority for Pernod Ricard. We must win in this battleground to deliver our Group mid-term topline 4 to 5% growth objective" Alexandre Ricard, Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard.

In line with this ambition, the Group launched DART 18 months ago, a business transformation project aiming at accelerating the current momentum in the U.S. It has a simple objective: grow value market share in a sustainable way. 

Some significant changes have already been made: implementation of a new route-to-market and more focus on premiumisation and innovation. As a result, Pernod Ricard USA has already started to accelerate its growth in 2015/16. Following the organizational changes communicated in the last weeks*, Pernod Ricard USA is now announcing further details on their ongoing business transformation. The new organization has been designed based on the following principles:

1/ continue to create a consumer-centric company that will drive a sustained consumer pull by reorganizing the marketing team into brand units structured around five key moments of conviviality;

2/ focus Pernod Ricard USA resources in the field, where it makes a difference, to accelerate decision-making and improve execution in the on- and off-premise. This will happen through the reorganization of the commercial team with a clear State focus, creating four single-state Market Entities, three multi-State Divisions, a dedicated Chains Division and supported by a Route to Market center of excellence;

3/ stimulate the development of future growth relays by creating a dedicated ‘incubation’ division, the New Brand Ventures department;

In addition, the company will improve Operational Efficiency by leveraging Hiram Walker's manufacturing expertise operations, creating a common reporting line of both the US (Fort Smith) and Canadian (Windsor) operations into Hiram Walker.

* creation of Pernod Ricard North America (US + Canada) as a direct Pernod Ricard affiliate and of the new position of Chief Commercial Office, entrusted to Julien HEMARD  

1. New Pernod Ricard USA Executive Team: 

The following appointments have been decided at Executive Committee level, all reporting to Paul Duffy, Chairman & CEO of Pernod Ricard North America and CEO of Pernod Ricard USA.

With effect from July 1st, Jeff AGDERN, currently SVP, Wines & Champagnes, is appointed SVP, New Brand Ventures, Pernod Ricard USA’s soon-to-be-established ‘incubation’ division that will redefine how future growth brands are built.

James SLACK, currently VP Marketing, Pernod Ricard China, is appointed SVP, Wines & Champagnes, effective September 1st. His replacement will be subject to a further announcement.

On July 1st, Jonas TAHLIN, CEO of Absolut Elyx, will become a member of the Pernod Ricard USA Executive Committee, keeping his current title and responsibilities.

A new position of SVP, Corporate Communications & CSR will be created and a search is currently underway.  Jack Shea, VP, Corporate Communications Pernod Ricard USA, will report to this new position.

Furthermore, Dan Denisoff, SVP Operations, Pernod Ricard USA, will leave the company on June 30th, 2016. Effective July 1st, Jim STANSKI, VP Operations, Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd Jim will take responsibility for the US and Canadian Operations. Jim will continue to report to Patrick O’Driscoll, CEO, Corby, who reports to Paul Duffy, CEO Pernod Ricard North America. Over his long career with Pernod Ricard, Dan has actively contributed to optimize production costs and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in the organization, notably via the successful ‘Shark Tank’ program. 

The Supply Chain, Forecasting & Planning and Procurement teams will report into Guillaume Thomas, CFO, Pernod Ricard USA. 

Below are the organization chart of the new Executive Committee and bios of new appointments. 



Jeff Agdern graduated in International Politics (BA) from the Penn State University. After a few years as National Sales Representative at Sidney Franck Importing, he joined the Group at Pernod Ricard USA in 1999 as Senior Brand Manager, became Group Director in 2002 and later VP Marketing - Imported Whiskies and Cognac. He then moved to Corby as VP Marketing in July 2010 and came back to the US in his current role in November 2013.

James Slack, Diploma in Business & Finance from Basford Hall College. He started his career in Reckitt Benckiser as National Account Manager before joining Pernod Ricard UK, in 1999, where he held several senior sales & marketing roles. In 2003 he joined Diageo as Marketing Manager and came back to the Group in 2006 as General Manager Spirits at Pernod Ricard Australia, later Marketing Director. In July 2010, he was appointed Global Brand Director Chivas at CBL. He has been in his current role since July 2013.

Jonas Tåhlin, MSc in Marketing from the Stockholm School of Economics, started his career at the Procter & Gamble where he held various marketing positions until he joined Absolut Vodka in 2006 as the Head of Western Europe.  In 2008, after Absolut became part of Pernod Ricard, he served as Regional VP Americas, and subsequently Vice President, Marketing, Vodkas at Pernod Ricard USA.  In July 2010 he became VP, Brand Development and then VP, Global Marketing at The Absolut Company, before being appointed in his current role in July, 2014.

Jim Stanski holds Bachelor Degrees of Applied Science (BA Sc.) in Chemical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Windsor (Canada). Starting his career in various Engineer positions at Complax Corp and GM, he joined Hiram Walker in 1994 and held different operational roles before being named Site Manager of the Walkerville, Ontario, Canada plant in 2004.  He is holding his current position since 2009.  


2. New Pernod Ricard USA Commercial organization: 

The following appointments will take effect from July 1st, 2016, in the new Spirits Sales organization, reporting to Julien Hemard:

Pat Magee, GM, Florida
Pat joined Irish Distillers in July 2007 as Business Unit Director - Retail.  He previously held senior commercial roles with Reckitt & Colman Ireland and the Eason Group and has a Masters in Business Administration from Graduate School of Business UCD.  In July 2009 Pat was appointed Sales Director (Retail) and has been on the IDL Leadership Team as Managing Director – Ireland since September 2011.

Brian Mequet, GM, California
Brian joined Pernod Ricard USA in October 2008 as a Division Marketing Director.  Prior to joining Pernod Ricard USA, he served as a Regional Marketing Manager with Miller Brewing Co. Brian received his MBA in Finance/Operations from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.  He was promoted to Vice President, Marketing, Rum and Liqueurs in March 2014.

Jim Green, GM, New York
Jim Green joined Pernod Ricard USA in November 2011 as Vice President, National Customer Solutions & Activation.  Prior to joining Pernod Ricard USA, he served as VP Customer Marketing, Shopper Marketing, Channel Planning & Activation with Diageo North America. Jim received his MBA in Marketing and Strategy from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.  Jim was promoted to General Manager, Venture Division in July 2014.
Mike Fuller, GM, Texas
Mike Fuller joined Pernod Ricard USA in March 2003 as an Area Manager. Prior to joining Pernod Ricard USA, he served as an On-Premise State Manager with Republic National Distributing Company.  Mike received his MBA in Marketing from Troy University. He was promoted to Vice President, Sales, Liberty Division in July 2014.
Melissa Linehan, GM, Continental Division
Melissa joined Pernod Ricard USA in July 2012 as a Division Wines & Champagnes Director. Prior to joining Pernod Ricard USA, she served as a Regional Vice President, Northeast with Rodney Strong Vineyards. Melissa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services from the University of Rhode Island.
Steve Crites, GM, American Division
Steve joined Pernod Ricard USA in August 2010 as a Region Manager. Previously, he had served as a Portfolio Director for Major Brands Distributing.  Steve received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Marketing/Management from the University of MO – St. Louis.  In July 2014, Steve was promoted to VP, Sales, American Division.  
BJ Vorderer, GM, Liberty Division 
BJ joined Pernod Ricard USA in May 2006 as a District Manager, On-Premise. He held several progressively responsible sales roles before joining Southern Wine & Spirits in February 2013 as Vice President, Sales and Marketing for the Pernod Ricard portfolio. BJ holds a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communications from Loyola University Chicago.  In July 2014, BJ returned to Pernod Ricard USA as General Manager, Liberty Division.
Scott Moore, GM, Chains Division
Scott joined Pernod Ricard USA in July 2004 as Director, National Accounts. Prior to joining Pernod Ricard USA, he was employed as a Regional Manager with Constellation Brands. Scott holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Finance/Economics/Accounting from Baylor University. Scott was promoted to General Manager, National Accounts in July 2014.
Shawn Higgins, VP & GM, RTM Excellence
Shawn joined Pernod Ricard USA in May 2010 as General Manager, West Division.  Prior to joining Pernod Ricard USA, he served as VP Retail Sales with Anheuser-Busch InBev. Shawn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Notre Dame.  He was promoted to General Manager, American Division in July 2014.

3. New Pernod Ricard USA Marketing organization:  

The new roles in the Spirits Marketing team, organized in brand units around moments of conviviality will be assigned as follows, effective July 1st, 2016 and reporting to Pierre Berard:

Joao Rozario, VP Marketing, in charge of the moment of conviviality ‘Let Loose’ (Absolut, Beefeater)
Joao joined Pernod Ricard in 2008 as Group Director, Premium Brands, Pernod Ricard Brazil.  He subsequently was promoted to Global Communications Director for Absolut, based at the Absolut Company in London.  Before joining Pernod Ricard, Joao spent 11 years with Unilever in various marketing roles.  Joao earned a Master’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Westminster. He was named Vice President, Category Marketing, Vodkas at Pernod Ricard USA in 2014.

Sona Bajaria, VP Marketing, in charge of the moment of conviviality ‘High-end Drinks’ (The Glenlivet, Redbreast, Midleton and Powers)
Sona joined Pernod Ricard USA in January 2012 as Sr. Marketing Manager, Jameson.   She previously gained extensive CPG experience from Unilever, Avon, and American Express. She holds an MBA in Marketing from the Kellogg School of Management, and a Bachelor’s degree in Neuropsychology from the University of Michigan.  She was named Marketing Director, Irish Whiskeys for PR USA in 2013.  

Kate Pomeroy, VP Marketing, in charge of the moment of conviviality ‘Hanging out’ (Malibu, Kahlua and Seagram’s)
Kate joined Pernod Ricard in 2008 as Vice President, Consumer Insights, after three years establishing the Consumer Insights practice at The Absolut Spirits Company in New York.  In 2012, she was appointed to be the first Diversity Officer at PR USA and in 2013, was promoted to Vice President, Innovation and Consumer Insights. Previously, Kate held senior strategy and research roles at several agencies, including Y&R.   Kate holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography with German from the University of Southampton. 

Martin De Dreuille, VP Marketing, in charge of the moment of conviviality ‘Out to Impress’ (Avion, Martell, Chivas, Royal Salute)
Martin joined Pernod Ricard USA in March 2011 as Brand Director Champagnes.  Previously, he held multiple roles with Moët Hennessy in marketing and sales. Martin earned a Master's degree in Strategic Management from HEC School of Management, and was named Vice President, Prestige Brands in 2013.

Jeffrey Moran, VP, Influencer Engagement and Marketing Activation Services
Jeffrey joined Pernod Ricard in 2008 as Vice President, Spirits Public Relations, Events and Sponsorships,    after holding a similar role for four years at The Absolut Spirits Company in New York.  Prior to joining Pernod Ricard, Jeffrey held marketing and public relations roles in various global CPG and public relations firms, such as M&M/Mars and Porter Novelli.  Jeffrey holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism.

Melvina El Grably, VP, Consumer Planning and Innovation
Melvina joins Pernod Ricard from McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm where she served as a Partner. Previously, she garnered years of marketing experience at Procter and Gamble. Melvina earned an MBA from HEC Paris and a second MBA from UC Berkley, Haas School of Business.

To be announced at a later date will be a VP, Marketing ‘Sharing a Drink’ (Jameson and Altos), and a VP, Marketing for the Prestige/Multicultural Team.

The following appointments will take effect from July 1st, 2016, in the New Brand Ventures team, reporting to Jeff Agdern:

Steve Walkerwicz, VP, Sales, New Brand Ventures
After working in Field Sales for Seagram, Steve joined Pernod Ricard USA in 2004, as the National Accounts Division Marketing Director. Since then he has held multiple leadership roles in Sales and Trade Marketing, including his current role as Vice President, Commercial Solutions.  Steve earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Florida.

Nick Papanicolaou, VP, Sourcing and Governance
Prior to joining Pernod Ricard in November 2015 as Director, Business Development, Nick worked in finance and then launched two start-ups, including one in the alcohol beverage industry. Nick holds an MBA in Value Investing & Entrepreneurship from Columbia Business School, and a Bachelor’s in Sociology from Harvard University.

4. Irish Distillers: 

Louise Ryan, currently Strategy & Insights Director in Irish Distillers, is appointed Managing Director - Ireland with effect from 1st July. Louise will report to Jean-Christophe Coutures, Chairman & CEO of Irish Distillers and will be a member of the Irish Distillers Leadership Team.

Louise will replace Pat MAGEE, who is appointed General Manager – Florida at Pernod Ricard USA at the same date, andas announced in a separate communication.

Louise Ryan, 
Graduated from the Trinity College and the Graduate School of Business UCD. Prior to joining the Group she used to work for Mars (Ireland) where she held a number of senior marketing and sales roles, including that of Commercial Director. In 2011 she joined Irish Distillers as Head of Business Development and most recently has worked as Strategy & Insights Director with dual reporting to the CEO and Marketing Director


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