Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard Appoints New CEO

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Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard Appoints New CEO

Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard has announced the appointment of Conor McQuaid as its new CEO and chairman, effective 1 July 2018.

McQuaid will take over from current chairman and CEO Jean-Christophe Coutures, who is leaving his role and will take over as CEO of Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers Scotch whisky portfolio, as part of a management shake-up.

The appointments were announced as the company broke the four-million case milestone for Jameson Irish whiskey sales in the first half of the year, which saw sales grow by 12% and volume increase by 11%.

McQuaid currently holds the position of EVP global business development at Pernod Ricard. He joined Irish Distillers as regional manager for Southern Europe in 1998 and has worked across the Pernod Ricard group for almost 20 years.

Coutures has served as chairman and CEO of Irish Distillers since 1 July 2016.


Continued Growth

“As these results demonstrate, the great growth story of Irish whiskey continues, and I am very proud to have played my part in the continued success story that is Irish whiskey,” Coutures said. “I know that Conor will be a great ambassador for Irish whiskey on the world stage, and I am honoured to be handing over the reins of such an incredible organisation at this important moment for our industry.”

He added that the growth of the brand had been fuelled mainly by markets in the US, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, however, Asian and Latin American markets also recorded strong growth.

“Consumers, particularly millennials, are showing signs of appreciating higher-end and super-premium products, and at Irish Distillers, we are well placed to meet this trend,” Coutures said.

“Growth of our prestige range, led by Redbreast and Midleton Very Rare, reflects the growing consumer appetite for premium Irish whiskeys and the resurgence of the time-honoured single pot-still Irish whiskey,” he added.


Challenging Home Market

The Republic of Ireland spirits market has remained challenging, with volume growth of 3.7% now outpacing value growth of 3.3%, according to Coutures. Meanwhile, the distiller’s premium spirits brands have recorded strong net sales growth during H1: Jameson (+5%), Powers (+11%), the Prestige range of  Irish whiskeys (+30%), and premium vodka (+5%) and gin (+29%).

However, he added that government action could threaten to curb its domestic performance, saying, "The global success of Irish whiskey is in danger of being undermined by developments in Ireland, most notably the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill,” Coutures said.

The new bill was approved by the Irish government on 8 December 2017 and aims to reduce alcohol consumption in Ireland to 9.1 litres per person per annum by 2020 and to reduce harms associated with drinking.

The legislation includes five main provisions: minimum unit pricing; health labelling of alcohol products; the regulation of advertising and sponsorship of alcohol products; structural separation of alcohol products in mixed trading outlets; and the regulation of the sale and supply of alcohol in certain circumstances, according to the Irish Department of Health.

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Kevin Duggan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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