Bacardi Eliminates Global CMO Role

Liquor Marketer Creates 'Centers of Excellence' in North America, Europe

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Liquor marketer Bacardi Limited is eliminating its global chief marketing officer position as it splits executive duties between two new CMOs overseeing North America and Europe.

The organizational changes, announced today, will result in the departure of Dima Ivanov, who had served as global CMO since January. Mauricio Vergara has been named CMO for North America, where his duties will also include global oversight for the Bacardi and Grey Goose brands. Mr. Vergara has been at Bacardi since 2013, holding a variety of regional and global marketing and sales roles.

Shane Hoyne will take over as CMO for Europe and will also assume global lead duties for Martini, Dewar's, William Lawson's and Bombay. He was previously at William Grant & Sons where he was global brands director on Grant's Whisky, Drambuie and Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey.

Bacardi CEO Mike Dolan said in an interview that he offered Mr. Ivanov another position at Bacardi that he described as a "great job." But Mr. Ivanov decided to pursue outside opportunities, he said.

Bacardi has also created a new position called head of creative excellence that will be filled by Zara Mirza, whose duties will include overseeing global agency relationships. Ms. Mirza was a partner at BBH before joining Bacardi last year.

The structural changes come two months after Bacardi consolidated global agency duties with Omnicom group, giving creative to BBDO Worldwide and media to OMD Worldwide.

Bacardi, which is based in Bermuda, had previously run global marketing from London. With the new structure, the company is "unpacking the old global group and really driving responsibly for the development of global strategy into the regions, which are really the major owners of those brands," Mr. Dolan said. "The key is we want to get great work. And we want to get great work that works in the field."

For instance, sales of Bacardi and Grey Goose are concentrated in North America. So global campaigns will be developed in North America, rather than London. Advertising will then be adapted to other regions as necessary under the oversight of Ms. Mirza, who will report directly to Mr. Dolan. BBDO will handle all of the work via its various offices.

Bacardi continues to be hurt by the sluggish performance of its namesake rum brand. In the U.S., sales of Bacardi rum fell 2.9% to $203 million in the 52 weeks ending April 19, according to IRI, which does not include bar sales. Mr. Dolan said the brand will stick with its ongoing "Untameable Since 1862" campaign, which has played up the heritage of the company and the Bacardi family. BBDO is working on new executions for the campaign that are expected to be ready by later this year.

At the same time, Bacardi is aggressively moving more media spending to digital. Mr. Dolan said the company now spends about 30% of its budget on digital, but "at a minimum it should be 50% or more," he said.