He will succeed Philippe Guettat, 45, who has held the role since September 2002. As part of a global management shake-up, Mr. Guettat will move to Stockholm as chairman-CEO of The Absolut Co.
Based in Shanghai, Mr. Constandis will also be a member of Pernod Ricard's Asia management team and report to Hong Kong-based Pierre Coppéré, the company's chairman-CEO, Asia.
Currently based in Toronto, he is chairman-CEO of Corby Distilleries in Canada, which owns brands including Wiser's rye whiskies, Lamb's rum, Polar Ice vodka and Seagram's Coolers. His successor at that Pernod Ricard division has not been named.
The mainland is one of the world's second-largest liquor company's most critical markets. While cognac sales are enormous, Pernod Ricard's Chivas brand is the longtime market leader, not only among imported whiskies but among all foreign brands in China.
Last year, Chinese consumed nearly 500 million cases of spirits. Even so, Pernod Ricard sold just under 730,000 of its biggest seller, Chivas Regal, a fraction of the total market.
Most Chinese prefer a local and very strong clear spirit made of rice called Baiju, but as a growing number of drinkers are able to afford western brands, whiskey imports are growing about 25% annually.
China imported 1.9 million nine-litre cases from whisky distilleries worldwide in 2007, up from one million cases in 2003, and is currently the 15th largest market for Scotch whiskey based on sales value. The country is a major growth market for both Chivas and its main rival in China, Diageo's Johnnie Walker brand, which has gained traction in China in recent years.
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