Pernod Ricard CMO Martin Riley to retire amid restructure

Pernod Ricard’s CMO Martin Riley is set to retire at the end of the year, with the drinks maker replacing him with South Africa managing director Conor McQuaid.

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McQuaid will take up a role as the group’s marketing vice president from 1 September during a transition period when he will report into brands managing director Thierry Billot. Pernod Ricard says McQuaid will work with Billot on merging Pernod’s marketing and commercial teams as part of its cost-saving drive aimed at improving operational efficiency, dubbed Project Allegro.

McQuaid will also work closely with Riley until he leaves on 1 January 2015, when he will succeed him.

Riley joined Pernod as CMO in 2009 from Chivas Brothers, where he was marketing director. He took the decision to pare back marketing costs last year in an attempt to establish more effective ways of driving sales through a mix of data, branded content, ecommerce and internal expertise.

That decision is reflected in Pernod Ricard’s latest results, which show that global spend on advertising and promotion fell 9 per cent year on year for the 12 months to the end of June to €1.5bn.

Full-year sales were down 7 per cent to €7.9bn, mainly due to “unfavourable” currency fluctuations. European revenues were up 2 per cent while China, its second biggest market, experienced a steep drop in sales, falling 23 per cent.

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