- Syl Saller has been acting as Diageo’s CMO for over 20 years, according to news shared by the Marketing Dive, the world’s largest spirits company. Saller has been the market leader since 2013.
- Saller is retiring to focus on leadership development and executive coaching. Cristina Diezhandino, Global Director of Scotch and Managing Director of the Luxury Reserve Series of Diageo, will take over the CMO on July 1, 2020.
- Saller has often been praised by the industry for hosting a portfolio of brands including Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and Guinness, especially for his work on gender equality. She is one of the five largest global marketers in the World of Advertisers’ Association and has recently won the Order of the British Empire on the Queen’s 2020 Honors List for Business Services and Equality.
Over two decades, over seven years at Diageo and CMO, Saller has helped put the organization at the forefront of important industry debates, including the ability of gender and marketers to drive change. Saller’s focused work has focused not only on consumer-focused campaigns on a wide range of brands, but also on corporate culture, which has been ranked high in recent years by the Thomson Reuters Diversity and Inclusion Index and the Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies.
In 2018, Diageo is also committed to the Free the Bid initiative, which calls on advertising agencies and content producers to nominate at least one female director as part of their bidding process to win the business.
“As advertisers, we are able to normalize gender equality with what we want in our ads and who we choose to produce,” Saller said in a statement about the Free Aid pledge. “The advertising industry is moving in the right direction towards greater gender diversity, but it needs to move faster.”
At the end of the product, Saller built up the Diageo luxury Reserve offering and called in the announcement to significantly strengthen the group’s core brands. It also helped create a better balance between data and creativity as much of the marketing moves toward the analytics side.
The newly supported CMO, Diezhandino, was previously the leader in Diageo’s largest Scottish whiskey tourism investment and has a deep background in emerging and developed markets. For his part, Saller is now seeking to assist non-executive roles in managing the next generation of marketing talent through leadership development and executive training, the announcement said.
“Diageo is the most incredible company, with talented, committed and passionate people,” Saller said in a statement. “My goal is to go out into the world and further develop these people.”
His retirement last year has seen a remarkable departure for CMOs, including Unilever Keith Weed, another UK marketing veteran who is well-known for his dedicated work. Saller is leaving the global economy at a particularly uncertain time, as the coronary epidemic continues to plague many industries.
Diageo said earlier this week that, according to Adweek, about half a million gallons of 96% alcohol-free grain-neutral alcohol is being given to disinfectant manufacturers as part of its outbreak efforts at no cost.