Applbaum, who was brought in to also head up Grey Goose after a successful run with Patrón, will leave the Bermuda-based company on 31 August. Applbaum is leaving to “pursue [his] personal passions in business and life” and spend more time with his son before he heads to college.
He will remain as a special advisor to Bacardi board.
Mahesh Madhavan, chief executive of Bacardi, has since put a call out for Applbaum’s replacement. The company used the departure news to ramp up its search for an external candidate with experience in luxury and lifestyle marketing to work directly with Bacardi’s global chief marketing officer, John Burke.
The company confirmed it is hiring a marketer to lead both brands.
Meanwhile, Madhavan has promoted Adrian Parker to the role of vice-president of global marketing for Patrón. Previously the digital marketing lead for both brands, he will now oversee all integrated marketing activities for the tequila.
The company is also hiring for Parker’s equivalent on the Grey Goose brand. Both roles will report into Applbaum’s successor.
“We wish Lee all the very best in what will undoubtably be an exciting next chapter in his successful career,” said Madhavan.
“Lee is a brilliant marketer and brand builder and we thank him for his longtime leadership at Patrón and more recently, his work creating a new and prolific marketing and creative platform for Grey Goose, which has invigorated the brand and shows fantastic promise right out of the gate.”
Earlier this year, Applbaum told The Drum his push of Grey Goose away from “austere” connotations had been showing early signs of sales success.