Diageo promotes Pilkington to top European marketing role

Diageo has promoted global category director Ed Pilkington to develop brands including Guinness and Smirnoff throughout Western Europe.

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Diageo has named Pilkington to steer the growth of its brands throughout Western Europe.

Pilkington, who previously managed the worldwide growth of the company’s vodka, gin and rum products, assumes responsibility for brand and creative strategies for the region. All category marketing teams will report to him.

He replaces Matthew Barwell who left the business after 15 years earlier this year (6 June). He will report to the chief marketing officer Syl Saller, who replaced Andy Fennell following his promotion to oversee the company’s growing African business earlier this month (1 July).

Pilkington joined the company in 1995 and has held various marketing roles across its Latin America, Caribbean and Australian divisions.

It is hoped Pilkington’s insights can help steer Diageo’s ongoing investment into the whisky category,  particularly in the UK, where brands such as Johnnie Walker receive less advertising spend in comparison to more mainstream drinks such as Smirnoff and Guinness. The business is also looking to use Pilkington’s experience to grow its gin brands such as Gordon’s and Tanqueray after seing a surprise surge in sales in the UK and Spain towards the end of 2012. In Diageo’s half year results, released in February, the company’s gin range delivered a 5 per cent lift in year-on-year sales.

The appointment comes amid a global review of the advertising duties for Diageo’s Smirnoff brand with the company saying it wants to “refresh” the strategy. 

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