Distributor of Absolut hires Guinness md

Maxxium UK, the distributor of Absolut Vodka, has poached Guinness Germany managing director Justin Adams to be its md.

His appointment, this month, follows the departure of the company’s first managing director Paul Grimwood, who left at the end of last year. It is not known if he had a job to go to.

Adams, who has a marketing background, was responsible for strategy in the UK and Asia at Guinness before becoming head of its German operation.

Reporting to Maxxium’s managing director for Europe, Canada and Duty Free Richard White, Adams will be responsible for boosting sales in the UK, as well as developing the company’s brands around the world.

“When we were seeking a managing director for the UK, Adams was the obvious choice,” says White.

Maxxium Worldwide was formed through a partnership of Highland Distillers, Jim Beam Brands and Remy Cointreau in August 1999. It handles the distribution of brands including The Famous Grouse, The Macallan, Remy Martin and Cointreau.

Last month, Vin & Sprit, the Swedish maker of Absolut Vodka, took a 25 per cent stake in Maxxium as part of a &£520m deal with US-based Jim Beam Brands (MW March 22). In a joint venture, Future Brands LLC will distribute the companies’ brands in the US, while Maxxium will distribute Absolut in all major markets outside the US and Scandinavia.

Maxxium will also handle the distribution of Plymouth Gin, of which Vin & Sprit owns a 50 per cent share.

Both Absolut and Plymouth Gin were previously distributed by Seagram, which sold its drinks portfolio to Diageo and Pernod Ricard last year, beating off a challenge from Vin & Sprit in partnership with Brown-Forman, maker of Jack Daniel’s whisky.

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