The CEO of Irish Distillers, Anna Malmhake, will leave her current post to lead The Absolut Company as part of the major management reshuffle at parent group Pernod Ricard.
Malmhake's move is just one of several key personnel changes announced this morning (11 February) by the world’s second-largest distiller, which coincided with it also maintaining its full-year forecast for profit growth.
The company's Americas business will be split, with Paul Duffy, the chairman and chief executive officer of The Absolut Company, running a new Pernod Ricard North America unit that comprises the US and Canada, the company said in a statement Thursday. Malmhake will replace Duffy to head up the Absolut brand.
The Latin American operations that had been part of the Americas unit now will report to Pernod Ricard’s Europe, Middle East and Africa unit.
"It's pretty straightforward: 90 per cent of the Americas region is the US and Canada," Alexandre Ricard, Pernod Ricard’s chief executive officer, said in an interview. "it was more simple to say, let’s have a North America division."
Earnings will increase by one per cent to three per cent on an organic basis, Pernod said, reiterating a forecast it made 22 October. Pernod reported first-half sales in line with analyst estimates and organic earnings growth of three per cent. Absolut accounts for more than a third of Pernod’s sales in the US and is losing market share to new entrants such as Tito’s Handmade Vodka and New Amsterdam.
Meanwhile, sales of Jameson Whiskey rose 11 per cent in the six months to the end of December with volumes up eight per cent, making the brand one of Pernod Ricard’s best performing spirits.
In a statement today Irish Distillers stated that it also seeing strong growth from Beefeater Gin, Zaconey, Havana Club and our Spanish wine brand Campo Viejo and our New Zealand wine brand Brancott Estate.
The drinks company added that the first half of the fiscal year saw the domestic market remain "quite sluggish", posting 1.1% growth in volume, 2.3% in value terms.
Irish Distillers highlighted that spirit sales in the on-trade are showing good growth of 2.7 per cent in value nationally, "driven by city centre accounts across the country performing well", stating that this is due to strong tourist trade and a growing interest in cocktails and Irish whiskeys by domestic consumers.
Jameson is leading that growth alongside strong showings by Paddy and Redbreast, the company said.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg, edited by Hospitality Ireland.