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Diageo appoints Facebook exec to bolster digital marketing skillset

By Ben Bouckley+

30-Jul-2014
Last updated on 30-Jul-2014 at 16:45 GMT

Facebook's VP of EMEA, Nicola Mendelsohn, will join Diageo's executive board on September 1
Facebook's VP of EMEA, Nicola Mendelsohn, will join Diageo's executive board on September 1

Diageo today announced leadership changes that CEO Ivan Menezes says will continue its shift away from regions towards greater market accountability, and also appointed a senior Facebook executive to bolster its digital marketing and communications skills.

Sam Fishcher, now MD of Diageo Greater China, will join the firm’s executive committee in a beefed-up role, as president, Diageo Greater China and Asia.

Anand Kripalu, CEO of India’s United Spirits, will also join Diageo’s executive committee as president of Diageo Greater China and Asia.

Both executives will report to Nick Blazquez, president of Diageo Africa and Asia Pacific.

Like Fischer, current Western Europe president John Kennedy will also assume a wider role – taking on responsibility for Russia, Eastern Europe and Turkey as president of Diageo Europe.

Diageo strengthens its focus on China and India

In addition to the market accountability shift, Menezes said the changes strengthened Diageo’s executive team and its focus on two key markets – India and China.

“I congratulate Sam and Anand on their promotion to the executive committee and look forward to seeing the further impact that Nick and john will have on Diageo’s performance given their new and wider roles,” Diageo’s CEO said.

Gilbert Ghostine leaves after 19 years...

Johnnie Walker and Guinness maker Diageo also said today that Gilbert Ghostine, who has been at Diageo for 19 years and is chief corporate development officer, will leave the company for an outside role on September 30.

In addition, the beer and spirits giant has appointed Facebook's VP of EMEA, to its board as a non-executive director, effective from September 1 2014. 

Having spent a year at Facebook, Mendelsohn has focused on increasing revenues through digital marketing projects and stronger relationships with the marketing community.

Diageo chairman Dr Franz Humer said: "Nicola's senior experience at the forefront of digital marketing and communications will be of great benefit to Diageo and its brands, as we seek to pursue long term profitable growth through innovation in all areas of our business.

"Additionally her reputation as one of the UK's leading businesswomen and her track record in championing women in business will be an inspiration to our people and the way that we work. I look forward to welcoming her."

Diageo will announce its preliminary results for 2014 tomorrow (July 31). Here are some analyst views on what we might hear .

(Smaller pictures, top to bottom: Sam Fishcher, Anand Kripalu, John Kennedy, Ivan Menezes, Gilbert Ghostine)