Whyte & Mackay, the Scottish whisky company which is the target of a bid from Indian drinks tycoon Vijay Mallya, is understood to have appointed strategy chief John Vincent as international marketing director.
As reported exclusively in Marketing Week (MW January 25), Richard Hayes, the previous international marketing director, and international brand director Michelle Audette left the whisky company suddenly.
It was originally thought that Thomas Veit, who joined Whyte & MacKay in September as commercial marketing director, had taken over Hayes’ role. Whyte & Mackay was unavailable to comment on Vincent’s appointment.
It is unclear whether the changes are linked to the ongoing takeover discussions between Vijay Mallya, owner of UB Group, and Vivian Imerman, the chairman of Whyte & MacKay. Mallya offered £473m for Whyte & Mackay in November, but Imerman is thought to be holding out for closer to £600m.
Imerman took control of Whyte & Mackay along with his brother-in-law, property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz, in 2005.
Whyte & Mackay is close to completing a £100m root-and-branch restructure and rebrand, which is supposed to refocus the business on its core own brands and move it away from lower margin bulk and private-label business.
If UB Group does not succeed in buying Whyte & MacKay, then drinks industry insiders say the distiller will inevitably be the target of a bid from a rival spirits company such as William Grant & Sons.