Rory Finlay's last two years at Wrigley were spent as VP-managing director in charge of the candy company's Altoids and Life Savers brands, which the gum giant acquired from Kraft for $1.46 billion in 2004. The deal has generally been regarded as a disappointment on Wall Street.
At Beam, the world's No. 4 spirits concern, he will preside over a portfolio that includes brands such as Jim Beam bourbon and Sauza tequila. But, Beam, like most spirits companies, has seen its explosive growth earlier this decade hit a slowdown.
Beam, a division of Fortune Brands, has grown mostly through acquisition, including buying six former Allied Domecq brands from Pernod Ricard in a $5.3 billion deal in 2005 that doubled its size.
"Rory Finlay is a proven builder of leading consumer brands with an impressive record of growing iconic brands in key global markets and launching fast-growing new products," Tom Flocco, president-CEO, Beam Global Spirits & Wine, said in a statement. "With the expansion of our portfolio of premium brands, Beam Global is on its way to becoming a brand-led company. Rory has extensive experience building brands from idea through field execution."
Mr. Finlay replaces Beth Bronner, who the company said resigned in July to pursue other interests. Ms. Bronner had been replaced on an interim basis by John Muller, Beam's senior VP-strategy and corporate development. Following Mr. Finlay's appointment, Mr. Muller will continue in the strategy job.
Beam's advertising agencies are Omnicom Group's BBDO Energy, Chicago, which Mr. Finlay worked with on Life Savers, and Publicis Groupe's Publicis Dialog. Zenith Optimedia, another Publicis shop, handles media for the marketer.