Johnnie Walker picks global boss

Diageo-owned United Distillers and Vintners (UDV) has named its emerging markets supremo Stephen Morley as the new global brand director for Johnnie Walker, with an annual budget of &£100m.

Morley replaces Alice Avis, and will report to UDV global marketing director Rob Malcolm. Avis left UDV earlier this year to become vice-president of marketing at online betting service Flutter.com.

The spirits giant is now seeking a replacement for Morley as global strategy and commercial director for venture markets.

UDV, which has almost double the spirits volume market share of its nearest rival Allied Domecq, grabbed headlines last year when it signed up actor Harvey Keitel to star in a series of TV ads on the “Keep Walking” theme, devised by Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

The ads attempted to move the brand away from Scotch whisky’s traditional associations and appeal to a younger audience.

The campaign’s &£100m annual spend catapulted Johnnie Walker into the super league of global consumer brands, consolidating its position as the world’s best-selling Scotch whisky.

A UDV spokesman said Morley’s job would be to build on the success of the new campaign. “Morley’s initial task will be to maintain the momentum of the ‘Keep Walking’ campaign, which led to an 11 per cent increase in volume sales, according to our latest set of results.”

Morley joined the spirits giant in 1982, before its merger with Guinness, creating the global conglomerate Diageo.

He is a former managing director of UDV’s operations in central Europe.

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