Stoli global marketing director departsBy Kristiane Sherry
Stoli Group’s global marketing director Lars Vestbirk has announced he has left the company, his departure in June preceding a statement from parent firm SPI Group confirming brand’s CEO will leave next month.
Vestbirk, who joined the firm in 2012 from Belvédère Group, was named global marketing director in September 2015 after holding the positions of global marketing manager and global brand director.
He quietly left the company in June 2016, Stoli Group confirmed today.
The announcement follows news that Stoli Group CEO, Rob Cullins, will leave the company effective 15 October amid a “restructuring” exercise.
In a statement, Vestbirk has referred to concerns over “long-term strategy” and the “correct use of research”.
Vestbirk’s statement in full reads:
“I’m thankful for having worked with some truly inspiring people during my time at Stoli Group, and with such talented and passionate third party distributors, creative agencies and partners; I call them ‘The Stoli Family’. Together we lifted the company from simply being an old fashioned production company, to a truly marketing lead, structured organisation, deserving its place among the top in the industry.
“We made incredibly positive strides with the Stolichnaya Premium Vodka brand, from being an old fashioned, soviet inspired vodka that your grandfather may have once praised, to a contemporary, cool, dynamic but still authentic vodka brand that bartenders and millennials can connect with; the results are great. Brand awareness and image are rapidly improving which reflects in the positioning and sales volumes around the world.
“Working in a privately owned company has great upsides, such as flexibility to make fast results, limited bureaucracy and often a focus on short term gains. However, such values can compromise long term strategy, correct use of research and even talent if not balanced right. I hope Stoli Group will manage to maintain the new DNA we created, as there are many people there that have fought hard for it and deserve appreciation and respect.
“Personally, I’m proud of what we accomplished and am now looking ahead in anticipation of new exciting challenges and opportunities in the spirits industry.”
Last year, SPI Group CEO Val Mendeleev departed the company quietly to pursue private investment opportunities.