Bacardi has announced that Simon Owen will become its new Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, joining from the UK and starting in the role on 1 April.
Owen has 20 years of FMCG experience, including 13 in the beverage industry and he has been Bacardi’s Director of Grocery in the UK since 2016. In that time he forged strong relationships with retailers, transforming the way Bacardi operates in the UK and helping brands like including Bacardi rum, Bombay Sapphire, Grey Goose and Patrón to consistently grow their market share.
Owen (pictured left) is taking over as MD for ANZ after Mauricio Vergara joined the company’s Global Leadership Team as President and COO of Patrón tequila and D’ussé Cognac.
He said his focus will be on bringing his learnings from the UK to this region.
“Thanks to the amazing work of Mauricio and the team, despite the challenges and setbacks of the pandemic, our core brands are flying in Australia and New Zealand – especially Patrón, which is going from strength to strength,” Owen said.
“We’re not stopping there though and from day one, my priority is continuing that momentum and growing share even further.
“I can’t wait to get started. While there are huge differences between the Australia and New Zealand markets and the UK, there are also lots of synergies.
“I plan to use my experience to build on the fantastic work of the team and grow our partnerships in both the retail and bar industry.”
Bacardi said that Owen and his team have big plans for the year ahead in ANZ. Opportunities for growth also include smaller brands with devoted followings, like St-Germain elderflower liqueur and Aberfeldy single malt Scotch whisky, as well as a pipeline of innovation, particularly in the ready-to-drink category, where “exciting new launches will tap into the convenience trend”.
Owen will report to Francis Debeuckelaere, Regional President for Europe, Australia & New Zealand.