New MD for Bacardi Australia reveals his plans

Bacardi Australia’s new Managing Director Luiz Schmidt has revealed his plans for turbocharging the company’s sales Down Under.

Schmidt told The Australian that in 2022 Bacardi Australia’s total sales were just under $95 million. He said the group had a target of $100 milion in 2025 and is looking to be a few years ahead of that deadline.

He said premium spirits and the booming popularity of tequila were fuelling growth.

“Ten years ago wine and beer had a very clear lead,” he said. “Not as much anymore, definitely spirits are catching up to beer and wine.”

He said super-premium tequila was the “most aspirational category for Australians”.

“Obviously tequila does not have the penetration that traditional categories such as whisky and vodka have, but on the other hand it does have that aspiration, is very young and we definitely see a lot of opportunity for tequila for sure,” he said. 

Bacardi Limited announced the appointment of Schmidt as MD of Bacardi Australia this week.

Schmidt has more than 20 years of experience leading long-term marketing and business strategy in companies such as Brown-Forman and Edrington in Australia, United States, Brazil, Mexico and Latin America. His last Australian role was as senior brand manager for Jack Daniel’s and Gentleman Jack from 2012-2014.

Schmidt is returning to Sydney from Panama after serving as Regional Marketing Director for Bacardi in Latin America and the Caribbean.

He is a University of Technology Sydney MBA graduate with over two decades of international experience across a range of sales, marketing and leadership roles. He has established a reputation for outstanding long-term strategy development, new product development, team building, innovation, and growth within the global premium spirits market, both in developed and emerging markets.

“I’m excited to lead our talented organisation in Australia and New Zealand,” Schmidt said. “These markets are one of the most developed and attractive premium spirits markets in the world, offering Bacardi a tremendous opportunity to accelerate the growth of our iconic brands in close partnership with our customers and consumers.”

Bacardi noted that in his most recent role as Regional Marketing Director for Bacardi in Latin America and the Caribbean, Schmidt successfully transformed the region’s marketing and commercial execution functions. The company said he significantly increased market share for brands including Patrón and Bombay Sapphire, and co-led Bacardi ́s marketing transformation in Mexico, including the successful launch of Bacardi Mango Chile – now Mexico’s leading flavoured spirit.

In his new role, Schmidt will lead Bacardi’s Australia and New Zealand operations, including overseeing the sales, marketing, finance and supply chain functions as well as leadership in continuing to craft the company’s culture, which is a Great Place to Work® in Australia.

He will also focus on accelerating the strength of the company’s portfolio of premium brands, expanding its market share and portfolio footprint while continuing to drive sustainable growth in the region – a task for which Vijay Subramaniam, Bacardi Regional President for Asia, Middle East & Africa and Global Travel Retail, said Schmidt is both uniquely and
abundantly qualified.

“The appointment of Luiz Schmidt as our new Managing Director marks an exciting chapter for Bacardi in Australia and New Zealand,” said Subramaniam.

“Thanks to his extensive international experience leading both developed and emerging markets with the company and more broadly within the industry, Schmidt brings a deep and nuanced understanding of the global premium spirits market.”

Big plans for Australian market

Schmidt replaces Simon Owen, who became Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand in April 2021 following Mauricio Vergara becoming PATRÓN President and Chief Operating Officer.

Owen has returned to the UK to head up plant-based company Redefine Meat.

Bacardi announced the retirement of Francis Debeuckelaere, Regional President Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand (EUROC) in March. Vijay Subramaniam, Regional President of AMEA and Global Travel Retail added Australia and New Zealand, formerly under the EUROC region, to his responsibilities.

In November 2022, Bacardi Australia welcomed two new executives, with Donna Mulholland joining as Marketing Director ANZ and Gareth Davey as Sales Director ANZ. 

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