New MD for Bacardi headed to Sydney for April start

March 12, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Family-owned spirits company, Bacardi has announced the appointment of Simon Owen as its new Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand from April 1.

With two decades of fast moving consumer goods experience, including 13 years in the beverage industry, Owen is relocating to Sydney from the United Kingdom where he has been Bacardi’s Director of Grocery for the UK, since 2016.

Over the last five years, Simon has transformed the way Bacardi operates in the UK grocery channel, forging strong partnerships with retailers so that on shelf and online the company’s iconic portfolio of spirit brands, including Bacardi rum, Bombay Sapphire gin, Grey Goose vodka and Patrón tequila, have consistently grown their market share.

As Owen takes over the reins from Mauricio Vergara, his focus is on bringing those learnings from the UK to Australia and New Zealand.  Vergara has joined the company’s Global Leadership Team as President and COO of Patrón tequila and D’ussé cognac.

In advance of starting in the new role , Owen said:

“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. We’re not stopping there though and from day one, my priority is continuing that momentum and growing share even further.”

Owen and his team have big plans for the year ahead. 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.

“I can’t wait to get started,” Owen added, “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.”

Owen will report to Francis Debeuckelaere, Regional President for Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Sarah Nichols will return to her role as Marketing Director after stepping in as Acting Managing Director since December.

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