Diageo’s Saller to take inspiration from Arthur Guinness

Incoming Diageo chief marketing officer Syl Saller says she will take inspiration from the founders of its top brands including Pierre Smirnoff, Arthur Guinness and Johnnie Walker in her new job. 

Guinness Surfer Horses

Marketing Week columnist Saller is to step up from her current job as global innovation director and replace Andy Fennell as CMO next month. 

Speaking to Marketing Week Saller said: “Our brands were mostly built by philanthropic entrepreneurs who ran their business in interesting ways and we want to be more like them than [an] FMCG [company] and we have been moving the model that way.”

This means constantly adjusting marketing strategy for each of its brands and reacting quickly, she added.

“A founder does not launch a marketing programme or an innovation then wait for many months to get the key performance indicator, they are out there in the bars and thinking about it.”

During her time in her current role she is credited with overseeing growth of its whisky brands from a £40m business in 2008 to £400m today with innovation accounting for almost 40 per cent of Diageo’s total growth in whisky.

A priority will be to visit all of the company’s markets around the world and learn about how marketing technology and innovation is employed, Saller added.

“I have a lot to catch up on in terms of what has been happening in technology and marketing innovation and I look forward to learning all of that. The first thing I need to do is get out into the markets and really listen to them.”

An agency review may also be on the cards. “I want to build my understanding of what’s happening in the agency space, [finding out] who is great and trying to hold that at bay for a while.”

She takes up her new role on the same date that Ivan Menezes replaces current chief executive Paul Walsh, who is to leave to join catering company Compass Group as chairman.

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here