The drinks industry CEO reshuffle

Heads were spinning in the Australian drinks industry last week when Carlton & United Breweries CEO Peter Filipovic passed the leadership torch to PepisCo’s Danny Celoni; then Diageo’s David Smith was announced as the new MD of Lion.

Peter Filipovic

Celoni and Smith are replacing executives who have been with their respective breweries for decades: CUB CEO Peter Filipovic (above, right) just celebrated 25 years at the company, while James Brindley (below) has spent 27 years at Lion. (Lion CEO Stuart Irvine has also stepped down, his replacement is still to be announced.)

Their departures come as new McKinsey research conducted in five countries – Australia, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States – has found that 40% of workers are likely to leave their jobs in the next three to six months. Two-thirds of those workers said they would quit without another job lined up.

It’s been dubbed “The Great Resignation” and its turning workplaces on their heads.

What’s sparking it? The pandemic has irrevocably changed what people expect from work and is leading an unprecedented number of employees to leave their currently employment as they seek greater fulfilment. In the case of Filipovic and Brindley, both men have navigated their breweries through the upheaval of COVID-19 lockdowns, which have decimated the on-premise and draft beer. It’s hardly surprising they’ve decided it’s time to step down.

By the time Australia fully reopens, the leadership of most of the leaders of the country’s top drinks companies will look completely different to five years ago, while still looking oddly the same as executives switch places.

Having trouble keeping track of the CEOs and MDs who’ve moved between drinks companies? Here’s our handy guide:

Robert Foye

NOW: Foye was appointed CEO of Accolade Wines in 2020, replacing Matthew Stanton (now CEO of Barambah Organics).

THEN: Foye was previously COO of Treasury Wine Estates.

Andrew Clarke

NOW: Clarke became Accolade’s Regional Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand in 2019.

THEN: He was previously Commercial Director of Diageo Australia.

Angus McPherson

NOW: McPherson was appointed Managing Director of Diageo in 2020 (replacing David Smith, below).

THEN: He was previously Managing Director for TWE Australia & New Zealand.

David Smith

NOW: Smith has just been announced as MD of Lion Beer (replacing James Brindley).

THEN: He was previously MD of Diageo Australia, before moving to Diageo Europe as MD last year.

Danny Celoni

NOW: Celoni has just been announced as CEO of CUB (replacing Peter Filipovic).

THEN: He was previously CEO of PepsiCo.

Peter West

NOW: West was appointed MD of Coca-Cola Amatil in 2018 and is now MD of CCEP’s Pacific division. Alison Watkins was Group Managing Director of Coca-Cola Amatil for seven years, stepping down in April, 2021.

THEN: West was Managing Director of Lion Dairy & Drinks until 2017.

Chris Baddock

Chris Baddock

NOW: Baddock was appointed CEO of Metcash Liquor in 2019 (replacing Scott Marshall who was appointed CEO, Supermarkets & Convenience. Rod Pritchard was acting as CEO of ALM in the interim – and previously spent 15 years at Brown-Forman).

THEN: Director of Pinnacle & Direct at Endeavour Group. Before that he spent 11 years with Lion, in roles including Managing Director of Fine Wine Partners.

FYI: Metcash CEO Jeff Adams announced last week that he will retire next year.

Simon Durrant

NOW: Durrant was appointed Managing Director of Campari Australia, New Zealand & Pacific Islands in 2018.

THEN: Former Accolade Sales Director. (David Halliday resigned as Managing Director Australia & New Zealand of Campari in December 2017).

Craig Garvin

NOW: Garvin was appointed CEO of Australian Vintage Limited in 2019, following Neil McGuigan’s retirement.

THEN: He was Sales Director at Lion in 2003 before moving to Arnotts, Tabcorp and Parmalat.

Brian Fry

NOW: Fry was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pernod Ricard Winemakers in 2019, following Bruno Rain’s retirement.

THEN: Fry was appointed Managing Director of Pernod Ricard Pacific in 2016. He was Regional Manager Asia/Pacific for Orlando Wyndham in 2000 and went on to become President and CEO of Pernod Ricard USA.

An honourable mention goes to Eveline Albarracin, Managing Director, Brown-Forman ANZPI, who has a science and pharmaceutical background. She joined the drinks industry in 2019, following the retirement of Marc Satterthwaite. And over at Beam Suntory, Andrea Parker succeeded John Rosair as Managing Director, Oceania, in 2019.  Parker had led Beam Suntory’s Global Travel Retail business in the Asia Pacific since 2016.

Simon Owen became Managing Director for Bacardi Australia and New Zealand earlier this year, replacing Mauricio Vergara, who joined Bacardi’s global leadership team as president and chief operating officer of Patrón Tequila and D’Ussé Cognac. Vergara had been MD of Bacardi-Martini since April 2019 and had worked for Coca-Cola, SAB Miller and Brown-Forman. Denis Brown was Regional President of North Asia Pacific for Bacardi until February 2020. Brown had previously been Managing Director of the Bacardi Lion joint venture, which ended in 2016.

Steve Donohue, managing director of Endeavour Drinks, was selected to lead Endeavour Group as chief executive in May 2020. He’s been with Woolworths since he was 19, when he was as a store manager Dan Murphy’s.

Over at Coles, Darren Blackhurst is Chief Executive Liquor. He joined the company in 2020, replacing Acting Liquor Director Cathi Scarce who was in the role for two years after Greg Davis was appointed as the Chief Operating Officer of Coles.

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Categories: Business