Brown-Forman announces change to global executive leadership team 

June 17, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Last week, Brown-Forman announced a change to its global executive leadership team that will see Diane Nguyen replace Kirsten Hawley as the new Chief People, Places, and Communications Officer. This change will come into effect from the start of August.

“I am delighted to welcome Diane to the role of chief people, places, and communications officer and to our executive leadership team,” said Lawson Whiting, Brown-Forman’s CEO and President.

“Her human resources experience, strategic talent management expertise, dedication to our culture, and cross-cultural business acumen make her an exceptionally well-suited leader for this role.”

Diane Nguyen will step into the position having already spent 16 years with the company. This includes almost 2.5 years as Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Global Commercial & Corporate Teams.

The news follows on from Kirsten Hawley, current Chief People, Places, and Communications Officer Kirsten Hawley, announcing her intent to retire last month. 

Reflecting on the news, Lawson Whiting said, “Kirsten has been a trusted advisor who has helped evolve Brown‑Forman’s organization to thrive for the next generation. She has been instrumental in championing our values and culture, developing leaders and teams, and introducing policies and programs that have positively impacted organizational performance.”

Kirsten Hawley will officially step aside from the company on 9 August after 27 years at Brown-Forman. This includes more than 10 years in the executive leadership team which she joined in 2013 as Director – HR Business Partnerships. 

“Among her greatest legacies are creating and implementing a people strategy that helped guide our organization through on-going global expansion, stewarding our culture during a global pandemic and its aftermath, and further strengthening our corporate brand. We wish her all the best in her well-deserved retirement.”

Today, Brown-Forman is responsible for a diverse global portfolio that includes brands such as Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Chambord, Jagermeister, El Jimador and Casa Herradura. It is now a major player in single malt scotch, with brands such as The GlenDronach and Benriach having earned significant recognition on the global stage.

Kylie McPherson, Vice President and director of Public Affairs at Brown-Forman Australia, recently told the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Resources that “the current conditions and the uncertainty borne of Australia’s excise regime – which is the third highest spirits tax in the world – are inhibitors for global companies like ours making such an investment in this market.”

To read more about McPherson’s reflection on Australia’s spirits sector, read this article. 

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