Beam Suntory supplants CMO role for ‘president of brands’

Jessica Spence will join from Carlsberg

Beam Suntory has hired Carlsberg’s Jessica Spence as its first president of brands, a title that will effectively replace the chief marketing officer role left open after Rebecca Messina’s departure last September.

Spence will be responsible for managing the global P&Ls of Beam Suntory’s largest brands, which include the whiskies Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark.

She will work closely with region presidents to implement on the company’s “premiumization agenda”, according to a statement, and has been tasked with leading innovation, R&D and martech, as well as design, marketing communications and brand strategy.

Rebecca Messina was the last exec to lead marketing at the drinks company as global chief marketing officer. She split to become Uber’s first chief marketing officer in September, however, resigned just nine months later.

Uber subsequently dismantled the chief marketing officer role – a decision also taken in recent months by Johnson & Johnson, Lyft and now her old employer, Beam Suntory.

Spence will join the company in October and report to chief executive and president, Albert Baladi. She is currently the executive vice-president and chief commercial officer of the Carlsberg Group based in Copenhagen in a similar role managing global marketing, sales and innovation.

She previously ran accounts at Leo Burnett and J Walter Thompson before heading client side to head up marketing across SABMiller’s eastern European territories.

“As we accelerate our path of premiumization and pursue our long-term ambitions, we will focus on building global premium brands of scale that consumers love,” said Baladi.

“Jessica is a true global enterprise leader with an impressive track record and the passion to match. With a powerful combination of brand-building leadership and commercial prowess, she is the perfect fit for this new role, for our strategic ambitions, and for our culture.”

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