Mr. Potter, currently the alcohol behemoth's president for global vodka and rum marketing, will take charge of a diverse and powerful brand portfolio that includes such brands as Johnnie Walker Scotch whiskey, Smirnoff and Ketel One vodkas, Jose Cuervo tequila, Captain Morgan rum, Guinness and Red Stripe beers, and Beaulieu Vineyards and Rosenblum wines.
Diageo spent $172.8 million last year on measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Its agencies include WPP Group's JWT; Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Omnicom Group's BBDO, among others.
In his previous assignment, Mr. Potter was credited with helping Smirnoff and Captain Morgan achieve market-share gains. "We are confident that Jon's brand-building acumen and exemplary leadership skills will further propel our business as we grow in the North American market," said Diageo North America CEO Ivan Menezes in a statement. "Jon brings to the role a great depth of marketing, commercial and global understanding."
Mr. Potter takes the North American marketing wheel at a time when lower-end spirits brands appear to be growing at the expense of top- and mid-shelf labels, a trend that may pose a particular challenge for flagship brand Smirnoff, which tends to be priced at what analysts see as the most vulnerable price-point for trading down.
Mr. Potter replaces Debra Kelly-Ennis, who moves to the position of president-Diageo Canada. "Debra's extensive management experience, coupled with her ability to drive breakthrough ideas will be a major asset as we continue to grow in this strategic market," said Mr. Menezes.