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Lion Australia has announced a change to its leadership team and structure with David Smith leaving his role as Managing Director and James Brindley returning to lead the business in a new joint-leadership structure alongside Anubha Sahasrabuddhe.

Sahasrabuddhe’s role has been expanded to lead Lion Australia’s Sales & Marketing portfolios, in addition to her existing Growth accountabilities, with her broader combined role titled Chief Growth & Commercial Officer.

Lion Group CEO Sam Fischer, thanked Smith for his contributions to the business as MD for more than two years.

“David has been part of these conversations and contributed to the proposed changes and, after careful consideration, has decided to leave Lion,” Fischer said.

“David has been an important member of our Group Leadership Team and I personally want to thank him for his contribution to the Lion business and team. He has led the turnaround of Lion Australia with a strong strategy liberating costs to significantly increase marketing investment and momentum in our core brands, building category growth capability, a bolder innovation pipeline, supply chain resilience, stronger customer partnerships and successfully integrating Fermentum into the Lion business.

“The results can be seen in marketplace performance and the feedback from customers – and he leaves us well set up to continue to build momentum and perform into the future.”

In an internal announcement to Lion’s employees Fischer outlined the changes to Sahasruddhe’s role and Brindley’s return to the business.

“This appointment recognises Anubha’s incredibly strong consumer and commercial capability, her courageous and transformational leadership, and her success leading the Growth team over the last year,” Fischer said.

“Anubha will continue to report to me and will remain a valued member of the Group Leadership Team. Lion Australia’s Sales Director, Kerry Appathurai, and Marketing Director, Rachel Ellerm, will report to Anubha, while continuing to remain core members of the Lion Australia Leadership Team.”

He added: “Considering this significantly broader scope and impact of Anubha’s role, I am pleased to share that James Brindley will step back into the evolved role of Managing Director of Lion Australia. James will report to me and will rejoin the Lion Group Leadership Team.

“James will be directly accountable for the Group and Lion Australia Supply Chain, as well as Lion Australia functions for Government & External Relations, Finance and People & Culture. Simon Edgar, the new General Manager of our craft spirits business Four Corners, will also report to James from the end of the third quarter of 2024. James will play a key role with customers, supporting our marketplace success and, along with Anubha, will be jointly accountable for overall Lion Australia business performance.

“Since James concluded his role as Managing Director, he has continued to work in the industry building on the strong relationships he has with our customers. I am delighted that James will be supporting Anubha in leading our Australian business, supporting the delivery of our growth ambitions.

“I know that many of the broader Lion team will benefit from his leadership, experience, and support. Anubha and James will get started immediately and David will be winding down his involvement – but has agreed to remain available to ensure a smooth handover.”

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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