Pernod Ricard has appointed Raja Banerji as marketing director of its UK business, replacing Philip Ainsworth.
Banerji joins from Pernod Ricard India, where he has been assistant vice-president of marketing for over five years. Charged with driving momentum across the group's portfolio of brands (which includes Absolut Vodka, Malibu, Jameson and Chivas Regal), he will report into the drinks giant's managing director David Haworth.
The marketer replaces Ainsworth who was appointed to the same role in 2017. It's not yet known where Ainsworth is headed, but The Drum understands he is taking time to pursue a new role. Pernod Ricard declined to comment.
Raja Banerji began his career as a sales trainee with Bakeman’s Industries in 1993, before joining Bacardi in 1997, taking on various sales roles. In 2002, he became senior marketing manager for Pernod Ricard India. After a stint at Beam as marketing director, he returned to Pernod Ricard India in 2008.
Commenting on his appointment, Haworth said: “Raja has a wealth of experience across sales and marketing within the drinks industry in India, having held roles within Bacardi and Beam in addition to Pernod Ricard.
"I am delighted to be welcoming him on-board at an exciting time for the business, as we look to continue driving momentum within Wine and Spirits with our enviable portfolio of premium brands for all moments of conviviality.
In the UK, Pernod Ricard has been focusing its efforts on customers who want to drink “less, but better” via “super-premium” brands like Monkey 47 gin and Rabbit Hole Whiskey; which it recently acquired a majority share in.
Though the wine and spirits industry has been highlighted as one of those likely to be impacted by a Brexit customs stand-off, the business has held firm that its marketing plans won't be impacted by the UK's EU exit.
Amid a gloomy outlook for the advertising marketing post-Brexit, the business has been plotting a £5m media blitz in the run-up to Christmas to promote flagship brands like Chivas, increasing its above-the-line investment by 37%.
“Honestly, I don’t know what’s going to happen but we’re not here for the short-term and we have no plans to change anything,” Haworth told The Drum during a press briefing in September.
Pernod Ricard reported sales of €9.1bn for 2018/19, a jump of 5.3% on the previous year.