Domecq hunts worldwide supremo to fight Diageo

Marketing will be at the heart of Allied Domecq’s fight against the proposed 24bn Diageo merger – between Guinness and GrandMet – and the company is seeking a global marketing director to steer its drinks operation.

The new post, as global marketing director for the wine and spirits group, will be one of the most challenging jobs in marketing. Domecq this week reported pre-tax profits up six per cent to 607m for the year to August 31, but it faces fierce competition from the Guinness/GrandMet merger.

The marketing role will involve overseeing a brand-building budget which totalled 312m last year. Budgets have also been hiked on key brands, with US spend on Kahlua doubling last year. The group has 15 main brands, including Ballantine’s. Volumes rose by four per cent on these brands overall, whereas marketing spend rose by 22 per cent.

Clearly nervous about the rival behemoth, Domecq is to build a dedicated top-level management team to fight Diageo. A new chief executive and a finance director will be appointed who will both be dedicated to Domecq’s wine and spirits business. For the past two years, direct management for this division has been handled by group chief executive Tony Hales and group finance director Tony Trigg.

The new marketing position will be senior to that of UK marketing director Grahame Cox.

Hogg also acknowledged benefits in “joining forces” with a major player in the spirits industry, saying he was studying “a number of options”. Analysts are speculating on a merger with Seagram.

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