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David Wildon made MD Beam Suntory GTR

Beam Suntory has appointed David Wilson as managing director of global travel retail. Wilson took up his new position at the start of the month, reporting to Albert Baladi, president of Beam Suntory’s EMEA region.

The announcement follows a strategic review of the global travel retail market segment by the company, which has resulted in a sharpened focus on developing and growing this channel.

Edrington and Beam Suntory today announced that the companies plan to end their Maxxium Travel Retail joint venture with effect from 1 April 2015, while also expanding their joint distribution portfolio in several key European markets.

“Beam Suntory is now the No. 3 spirits company in the world, with an advantaged portfolio in key categories and an unmatched global premium whiskeys portfolio,” Baladi says. “We are committed to investing and growing our brands in the strategic travel retail channel. David brings proven leadership skills and expertise in premium brand building on a global stage, which will add real value to developing our vision.”

Wilson has held a number of senior marketing and commercial roles within the spirits industry during his career, most recently as sales and marketing director of Morrison Bowmore Distillers (MBD), now part of the Beam Suntory family. David served in that position for the last five years, leading the strategic repositioning and strong growth of MBD’s single malt portfolio.

“I am delighted to be joining the Beam Suntory team at this time, to lead the next chapter for our GTR business,” Wilson adds. “I have spent a significant part of my career building and growing premium brands and I very much look forward to working with our retail partners to develop our mutual businesses.”

Maxxium Travel Retail joint venture

Maxxium Travel Retail is currently the third largest spirits supplier in European travel retail and has delivered significant growth during its five year history. It is anticipated that each company will create an independent distribution business for the travel retail channel.

Beam Suntory and Edrington have recently formed global travel retail divisions, and this change will allow both companies to better integrate their European operations into their global businesses, and consequently manage customer relationships around the world more effectively.

Both companies say they will continue the strong relationship, expertise and investment behind the brands during the transition period, to prevent any disruption in service to customers.

Beam Suntory also announces today that its legacy Suntory brands, including the Morrison Bowmore single malt Scotch whiskies and its prestigious range of Japanese whiskies, will join the Maxxium portfolio in the domestic markets of Spain, Russia and the UK, further strengthening Maxxium’s leading portfolio of premium spirit brands.

In a simultaneous move that signals the potential of this expanded portfolio, Beam Suntory’s Morrison Bowmore single malts and its Japanese whiskies will be distributed by Edrington in the Nordics.

Scott McCroskie, group commercial director for Edrington said: “We would like to thank Maxxium Travel Retail for the outstanding results our brands have achieved under their stewardship.

“With passenger numbers and spending forecast to increase by double digits, the travel retail sector presents an outstanding opportunity to grow our premium brands and we look forward to increasing the focus on our premium portfolio in this important channel.”

Beam Suntory's Baladi says: “I would also like to thank Maxxium for their unstinting efforts to build our brands to leading positions in the important travel retail sector. The newly expanded Beam Suntory premium ranges creates the right moment to focus on our own portfolio in the travel retail channel. We look forward to driving outperformance in this channel and across Maxxium’s joint venture markets.” 

20 October 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor