Diageo CMO Syl Saller receives CBEBy Melita Kiely
Syl Saller, Diageo chief marketing and innovation officer, has been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list 2020 for her services to business and workplace equality.
Saller, who was appointed a commander of the most excellent order of the British Empire (CBE), boasts a 20-year career at Diageo. In 2013, she was appointed chief marketing and innovation officer and is also a member of the drinks group’s global executive committee.
In these roles, Saller has led global marketing and innovation strategies through a “period of significant transformation” for Diageo.
Saller has also been praised for being a “leading voice to drive change and enable greater diversity within creative industries”, particularly due to her roles as president of the marketing society, board member for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, trustee of the Marketing Academy, and member of the executive board of the World Federation of Advertisers.
Diageo described Saller as a “catalyst” behind the company’s Creative Equals ‘Creative Comeback’ programme, which supports women returning to creative industries following a career break.
She has also worked with the UN Women-convened Understereotype Alliance to create a co-authored industry-wide playbook for gender portrayal in advertising.
In her position as president of the Marketing Society since 2016, Saller has helped lead an industry agenda on ‘brave leadership’, encouraging “candid” discussions on equality, confidence and mental health in business.
Ivan Menezes, chief executive, Diageo, said: “This is a proud day for Syl and for Diageo. This award is well-deserved in recognition for Syl’s leadership and her tireless work to grow our people and our brands.
“Syl has long been a passionate advocate for equality and I know this honour will encourage her to achieve even more progress on diversity within the creative industries.”
Over the last year, Saller has led Diageo’s endeavours for progressive gender portrayal in advertising alongside her colleagues, and helped drive inclusion and diversity through market-leading policies and practices.
Saller added: “This honour is testament to the incredible people at Diageo and in the external organisations that I am privileged to work with.
“I hope that our commitment to creating an environment where people can truly flourish, grow themselves and their businesses while working to accelerate equality makes a real difference to our industry.”