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Ex-Bacardi Canada president pens stark warning

The former president of Bacardi’s Canadian business has penned an open letter warning the group to address “fundamental issues” which “plague” its business.

Rob-McPherson
Rob McPherson, former president of Bacardi Canada, has warned the group could “fall off the business cliff” if it does not make structural changes

Rob McPherson, Bacardi Canada’s president from 2010-2014, directed the open letter, published on his LinkedIn page, to the firm’s chairman Facundo L. Bacardi.

McPherson said that in the wake of a number restructuring efforts by the Bermuda-based drinks group, “it can and it will” fall off the “business cliff”.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Bacardi had scrapped its global chief marketing officer role, leading to Dima Ivanov’s departure just six months after he had taken up the position.

In its place, the group has implemented “Centres of Excellence”, located in Europe and North America, each of which will be led by a regional CMO.

Shortly after confirmation that Bacardi had shed 10% of its North American workforce, the group revealed it had appointed a single communications group to handle all global advertising, media and digital business for its flagship brands.

“Let me state, for the record, that I thoroughly enjoyed my nine years with Bacardi Limited,” McPherson said.

“I am proud of the work we did, the revenues and profits we delivered and the people I worked with and helped to develop. That is why I feel so compelled to write this posting.”

He added: “Facundo, as Bacardi now sits with its 4th CEO and 6th CMO incarnation in the past 9 years, you need to address the fundamental issues that plague your company, before it goes off the business cliff – believe me when I say, it can and it will.”

McPherson goes on to say that Bacardi “does not have an area of competitive advantage”, “acts with passion but without direction” and “has forgotten the consumer decides relevancy”.

Claiming the group can “return to its glory years of success”, McPherson advises it to “focus on the US and Europe. Build in India. Test and prudently invest in Brazil and China. Manage the ROW to a tight ROI.”

He also urges Bacardi to focus on its Bacardi, Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire and Martini brands and to “hire experts and let them run the business”.

“Facundo, again, I say this all with the highest respect for the company and sincerely hope this resonates with you,” McPherson concludes. “I wish you the best and I hope to see Bacardi as a leading Spirits company once again, in the future.”

Bacardi has not yet responded to The Spirits Business request for a comment.

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