After 27 years with Lion and 12 as Managing Director of Lion Australia, James Brindley is calling ‘last shout’ on his time with the business and will leave Lion at the end of 2021.

During his time at Lion Brindley has led the business in its acquisitions of Boag’s and Little Creatures, Lion’s share in Four Pillars and most recently, the proposed acquisition of Fermentum Group.

Lion CEO Stuart Irvine thanked Brindley for his work in helping Lion to deliver 10 years of above-target performance.

“On behalf of the entire Lion business, I’d like to thank James for his outstanding leadership and commitment to Lion’s people, customers and communities,” Irvine said.

“Over his 27-year career with Lion, James has made an incredible contribution to both our business and the wider industry.

“As always but over the past 18-months in particular, James has demonstrated true partnership through the most challenging period our industry has seen. I know that our customers will join me in thanking James for his support during this time.”

Brindley added: “After many years being part of this wonderful industry, I have decided it is time to call last shout and move on. I am grateful to the incredible people I have had the privilege to with work with, not only colleagues but especially our customers and community partners.”

Scott Leach, the President of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) told The Shout that Brindley would be missed.

“The AHA regards James a true friend of hotels. James’ leadership through the pandemic was phenomenal. James’ decision to take back kegs and refund publicans was a magnificent gesture and allowed us to survive.

“The AHA wishes James well and thank him for always stepping up to help pubs when he was asked. James shared the community ethos of publicans and was always happy to step up to the plate, with Lion, assisting in times of bushfire and flood.”

He added: “James’ commitment and passion for the hotel industry has led us to become close friends over the years. We are grateful for his leadership at Lion and wish him well in future endeavours.

“James, it’s our shout next time you’re in one of our venues.”

Lion also announced Brindley’s replacement will be the former Managing Director of Diageo Australia, David Smith, who said: “I am delighted to be joining Lion, a business I have long admired for its leading brands, great culture and fantastic team. I look forward to working with the Lion team to create growth for the business and our customers.”

Irvine added: “David is a highly respected industry leader and already a familiar face to many of our Australian partners. He is committed to growing businesses through patient investment, enduring partnerships and motivating his teams to deliver outstanding outcomes for customers.

“We look forward to welcoming him back home to Australia and to Lion in January.”

As part of the changes to the Executive team, Lion also said Anubha Sahasrabuddhe will be joining Lion’s Group Leadership Team as Chief Marketing Officer after joining Lion in January 2021 as Marketing, Consumer and Brand Director. In her new role, Sahasrabuddhe will be responsible for marketing across Australia and New Zealand.

“This appointment is a wonderful endorsement of Anubha’s contribution since joining us at the beginning of the year and a clear demonstration of our commitment to elevate the needs of the consumer across our business,” Irvine said.

“I am thrilled to be joining Lion’s Group Leadership Team as CMO. After a fast start at Lion, I’m excited by the motivation and support across the business to step-change our consumer focus. I look forward to bringing a consumer perspective to the leadership table and continuing to drive our brand marketing into new territory,” said Sahasrabuddhe.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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