SAS Larsen has announced the appointment of Jérôme Durand as its new managing director. Jérôme will be responsible for the company's two Cognac brands, Larsen and Renault, and with his wealth of experience in the drinks industry, he has ambitious plans for the two houses.
Having spent seven years in the marketing department at Pernod, Durand became international marketing director at Champagne Pommery before taking the key role as head of communication at the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) in 2005. Here his flair, decisiveness and team-building skills saw the creation of such ground-breaking initiatives as the International Cognac Summit and the Part des Anges charity auction, now a major event in the international Cognac calendar.
Six years later, Jérôme Durand returned to Champagne as director of international marketing and development for the group Lanson International Diffusion, working particularly on the Lanson, Besserat de Bellefon and Tsarine brands. His introduction of the Lanson Vintage Collection and Lanson White Label, first champagne specially designed for experimenting with aromas, established a new positioning for the brands in France and around the world.
“And now I’m back in Cognac,” he says. “It’s just 10 years since I joined the BNIC and it feels great to be here. My new role at SAS Larsen is challenging and exciting. I’ve got my feet on the ground but I have plenty of determination and belief in these brands.”
Cognac Larsen celebrates its 180th anniversary this year while Renault will mark its 90th year in 2016.
The house of Renault was founded in 1835 by Frenchman Jean-Antonin Renault, a visionary businessman and traveller, who established the brand in markets as far afield as Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Asia and America. Today, Scandinavia remains the brand’s major export market. The house’s flagship blend is its Carte Noir Extra, created from more than 50 eaux-de-vie.
Cognac Larsen dates from 1926, when the Norweigan adventurer and Cognac-lover, Jens Reidar visited France… and never went home, deciding instead to set up a Cognac house of his own. Larsen’s nordic roots and the spirit of adventure of its founder are reflected in the brand’s iconic emblem: the Viking ship, the drakkar. Known as the ‘Cognac of the Vikings', Reidar’s blend for Larsen has remained a secret for almost a century.
Larsen SAS belongs to the Finnish group ALTIA, and employs a 30-strong team in Cognac and Helsinki, reflecting the strong position of its brands in the Scandinavian market.
Talking of his plans for Cognacs Larsen and Renault, Jérôme says, “Larsen needs to grow in stature rather than size. We want to keep the spirit of Jens Reidar but change the positioning and focus on the elegance of the Cognacs. We have come up with a new brand identity to convey these messages, which is built on 'The Spirit of Adventure' and will include a redesign of the emblematic drakkar ship.
“For Renault, the aim is to reinforce the quality image of the brand, to strengthen its identity. For the end of 2015, Renault will launch a new blend of its Carte Noir Extra. Carte Noire Extra Old Limited Edition is a Cognac which has been aged in 40 year old barrels for 180 days – a reference to the house’s 180th Anniversary”.
20 November 2015 - Rebecca Sterritt Paragraph Publishing, content manager