Metcash has announced the appointment of Kylie Wallbridge as CEO of its Liquor pillar, which includes Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM) and Independent Brands Australia (IBA), following the retirement of Chris Baddock in 2023 due to health reasons.
Taking over from Acting Liquor CEO John Barakat in March of this year, Wallbridge has a long association with the Australian and global liquor industries, with her commercial, brand and marketing experience stretching back more than 25 years.
As Diageo’s current Managing Director in the United Kingdom, and previously in Japan, Wallbridge has been responsible for global rare spirits, private client, wine and Scottish tourism, and retail businesses.
Beyond this, Wallbridge has held positions with multinational liquor organisations and brands in several senior roles across Africa, Asia and Australia, including 13 years spent with Heineken and seven with Lion.
Metcash Group CEO, Doug Jones, commented on Wallbridge’s appointment: “Kylie is a proven business leader with a track record for delivering results. Her alignment to our purpose of championing successful independents and her passion for people is evident through her strong relationships with both retailers and suppliers.
“I have no doubt Kylie will be a great asset to the Liquor pillar and Metcash more broadly. We warmly welcome her to Metcash. I would also like to sincerely thank John for acting in the role following the retirement of Chris last October.”
In a post on LinkedIn, Wallbridge spoke of her excitement about the new role: “I’m thrilled to share that I will be returning to Australia to join Metcash and take up the role of CEO Australian Liquor Marketers on 1 March.
“With a mission of championing successful independents across Australia and New Zealand, ALM is Australia’s largest liquor wholesaler and brings liquor expertise and passion to life through strong retail brands and partnership.
“My thanks and best wishes to the inimitable Chris Baddock – these are big shoes to fill.
“To the ALM team; our network of suppliers, retailers and on-premise venues, I’m looking forward to engaging and continuing the great work already underway.”
Former CEO Baddock also took to LinkedIn to congratulate Wallbridge on the appointment.
“I am excited to share that today Metcash announced Kylie Wallbridge has been appointed as the new ALM CEO. Kylie and I worked together at Lion, and she brings to the role extensive local and global experience in the liquor industry. Kylie is passionate to continue championing successful independents and leading the business with partners at the heart of all decisions.
“I am humbled to have been asked by Metcash to assist with the handover and to continue in an advisory role for a period of time, to ensure the smooth transition of leadership.
“I want to thank John Bakarat for stepping into the Interim CEO role and the ALM leadership team for continuing to lead the business with passion for independents, supplier partners, our people, and our community.”