Jim Beam Begins Search for New Marketing Chief

Current CMO to Leave; Changes Follow Massive Expansion

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Beam Global Spirits & Wine, which recently completed a massive expansion of its marketing department following an acquisition that doubled its size, is now looking for someone to run it. Beam Chief Marketing Officer Beth Bronner is "departing the company to pursue other interests," the company said today.
CMO Beth Bronner is leaving Beam after expanding its marketing departrment personnel from 85 to 160.
CMO Beth Bronner is leaving Beam after expanding its marketing departrment personnel from 85 to 160.

Ms. Bronner joined Deerfield, Ill.-based Beam as senior VP-marketing in fall 2003 with a pedigree that included work on brands such as Revlon, Nabisco, AT&T, Haagen Daaz, Slimfast, Citibank and Sunbeam, but with no prior spirits experience. She leaves two days before the company parent, Fortune Brands, releases its second-quarter earnings July 27.

Allied Domeq acquisition
After Beam's $1.2 billion 2005 acquisition of brands from Allied Domeq, including Sauza tequila and Makers Mark whiskey, Ms. Bronner was charged with scaling Beam's marketing to its new stature as the world's No. 4 distiller. She increased marketing personnel to 160 from 85, and planned aggressive increases in spending abroad.

"We had one global brand -- Jim Beam -- and now we've got seven," Ms. Bronner said during an April interview with Advertising Age. "That gives us a great opportunity."

But that opportunity now belongs, temporarily, at least, to John Muller, the company's senior VP-strategy and corporate development, who will retain his current responsibilities in addition to Ms. Bronner's during the search for her replacement.

Integrated brands into portfolio
Before joining Beam, Mr. Muller served as a consultant to the company as it integrated the 25-plus Allied brands into its portfolio. His background also includes a stint as senior VP-strategy for Bank of America, McKinsey & Co. and Procter & Gamble Co.

"Through a commitment to invest and grow our brands as a brand-led company, John will lead this interim transition while continuing to work closely with the company's business units to implement critical brand strategy initiatives and brand growth," Tom Flocco, president-CEO said in a statement.
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