Domecq rejigs spirits division

Redundancies and agency re-views look certain following the latest root-and-branch marketing restructure of Allied Domecq’s spirits and wine division.

Redundancies and agency reviews look certain following the latest root-and-branch marketing restructure of Allied Domecq’s spirits and wine division. It is the second reorganisation in two years under global marketing director Todd Martin.

Martin has closed the Los Angeles, US, headquarters and scrapped the global marketing and brand development teams he set up in June, as part of a step-by-step plan to turn the struggling division round.

Martin, who embarked on a major restructure following his arrival from PepsiCo’s restaurants division last February, says: “If that was the foundation, then this is the construction.

“The company had a tendency to explore other markets at the expense of its core brands. We want to get them going again.”

The new move, which Martin says will lead to some redundancies among senior marketers, creates four global category teams, split between the UK office in Bristol and a new US headquarters at Westport, California.

Euro brands, which include Beefeater, Courvoisier, Tia Maria, Cockburn’s, Harvey’s Bristol Cream and Domecq sherries, will be headed by former vice-president for Beefeater, Jackie Fionda, who becomes vice-president Euro brands.

Whisky brands, which include Ballantine’s, Canadian Club, Maker’s Mark, Laphroaig and Teacher’s, will be headed by Mark Doorbar, who was promoted to vice-president for Ballantine’s in the shake-up last June. Both teams will be based in Allied Domecq’s UK offices in Bristol.

Teams for the Latin and Kahlua brands will be based at Westport, under Sally Brophy and Scott Green respectively.

Strategy reviews of Teacher’s whisky (whisky brands) and Courvoisier (Euro brands) are likely to lead to a review of agencies, admits Martin. Teacher’s does not have a creative agency following DMB&B’s resignation from the account in 1997. Saatchi & Saatchi handles Courvoisier. Media buying for both brands is by Optimedia.

Martin says: “The strategic reviews will take place over the next six months and then we will make a decision on whether or not we have the right agency partner.”

He has also realigned the customer insight, integrated brand communications and product innovation teams – also set up last June – to match the structure of the brand teams.

The restructure comes as Allied is splitting its spirits, wine and pub retail businesses in the run-up to a sale of its pubs to either Whitbread or Punch Taverns. The Allied board this week decided to recommend Whitbread’s bid to shareholders. A vote will be made before July 23.

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