Bacardi Hires Its First Female Executive To Head Its Worldwide Travel Retail Operations


The global spirits company Bacardi, which is best known for its white rum, is in the process of reorganizing some of the leadership roles within the company. One of the changes that will take place is the appointment of the first woman to lead the travel retail business of the company in the role of global managing director.

Beginning in January 2023, Leila Stansfield, who is presently serving as the on-trade sales director for Bacardi UK & Ireland, will move into the newly created position. The current incumbent, Vinay Golikeri, who is located in London, would be leaving the travel retail channel after spending more than a decade working in the industry in order to take on the role of managing director for India and the nations that are nearby. Golikeri has replaced Sanjit Singh Randhawa in his role as director of external relations for Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as global travel retail. Sanjit Singh Randhawa will be relocating to Dubai to take up this position.

One of Bacardi’s primary areas of concentration is the whiskey market, and the two biggest markets in the world are India and the United States. According to projections made by drinks researcher IWSR, the amount of the spirit sold in India would increase by 23% between the years 2021 and 2026.

Educated at the University of Cambridge Stansfield has prior expertise in the travel retail channel, although for a brief period of time. During this time, he held high-level responsibilities within the industry, such as finance director (from 2015 to 2016) and marketing director (from 2016 to 2017). She has worked for Bacardi, a firm with its headquarters in Bermuda, for the last 12 years, and she has held key jobs in the strategy development department, for which she reported directly to the CEO. This is maybe the most crucial aspect of her career.

Stansfield’s extensive expertise in forward strategic planning is expected to be applicable to the travel retail channel as it emerges from a very deep trough, which will inevitably result in shakeouts and possibly consolidation. For instance, airport shop Dufry is merging with Auto grill, and alcohol companies are vying for the attention of passengers at a time when the number of travelers is rapidly increasing as a result of the implementation of Covid. Stansfield said that as she returned to the travel retail industry the following year, she would provide “mutually advantageous plans for development with retail partners.”

Following two years of falling sales, Bacardi’s competitors in the travel retail sector of the liquor industry, including Diageo, Pernod Ricard, and Brown-FormanBF.B +1.1%, have seen a significant uptick in sales this year. Bacardi, the biggest privately held spirits firm in the world, does not discuss its financial performance, but the company has increased its promotional activities at airports this year and will continue to do so in the coming months, in the key lead-up to the holiday season.

For instance, in conjunction with Gebr. Heinemann and joint venture partner Unifree Duty Free, Bacardi operated a pop-up whiskey emporium at Istanbul Airport from July till September. The store was open for those three months. The venue included well-known brands like as Dewar’s and single malts such as Aberfeldy, Craigellachie, Glen Deveron, and Royal Brackla. Additionally, there were vapour infusion jars and a wax-dipping service available there.

Vijay Subramaniam, Bacardi’s regional president for Asia, Middle East and Africa as well as for global travel retail, commented on the management reshuffles by saying, “Vinay has played a significant role in expanding our worldwide travel retail business.” Vinay has effectively negotiated the hurdles posed by the epidemic over the course of the previous few years, which have been especially challenging for this channel. Leila adds to our company a significant commercial expertise that spans our whole operation. She will optimise strategic brand-building and commercial potential at a time when global travel retail is facing a moment of revolutionary opportunity.

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