Irish Distillers hires rival boss

Irish Distillers Group has poached senior marketer Martin Riley from its rival Allied Domecq.

Riley’s arrival is a coup for the Groupe Pernod Ricard-owned company. He was previously Allied Domecq’s vice-president marketing for Scotch Whisky and he oversaw the Ballantines brand as international brand director. Ballantines is one of Allied Domecq’s strongest brands, selling over 5 million cases last year.

Riley’s brief is to drive up global sales of the Jameson and Bushmills premium whiskey brands. Jameson, which sold only 400,000 cases a year at the time of Pernod Ricard’s take-over in 1988, sold 1 million cases last year.

Jameson is among the world’s 20 top whiskey brands, and is acknowledged as one of the fastest growing global whiskey brands.

Riley, who was previously international marketing director for Beefeater Gin, replaces Francesco Tadonio in the role of sales and marketing director. Tadonio, who was moved over from Pernod Ricard at the time of the takeover, will now return to a senior role within the parent organisation, says a spokesman.

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