Mackmyra names new CEO

9th March, 2020 by Nicola Carruthers

Swedish distillery Mackmyra has appointed Johan Larsson as its new CEO, taking over from Magnus Dandanell who has stepped down after 21 years in the role.

Mackmyra has finished its whisky in casks that held green tea leaves

Dandanell will move into the position of business developer for Mackmyra, focussing on establishing new export markets and developing digital distribution channels.

“It is with pride and confidence that, after more than two decades, I hand over the helm to a strong leader like Johan,” said Dandanell. “With his strengths and skills, Mackmyra will be able to develop further and reach its full potential.

“I am also pleased to now be able to focus on Mackmyra’s business development, especially in light of the major changes that the global alcohol industry is undergoing, both in terms of consumer behaviour and internet-based disruption.”

Larsson was previously chief financial officer of fashion company Peak Performance and helped the company to increase its revenues from 300 million Swedish krona (US$32,000) to 1 billion Swedish krona (US$106m).

He has also worked as both the chief operating officer and CEO of a number of entrepreneurial clothing companies including Wesc, Whyred and Mini Rodini. Larsson also acted as an advisor for investment firms through his own consultancy business.

In addition, Larsson has been a member of the board for branding company Nilörngruppen, footwear accessories producer Paul Brunngård, bicycle helmet maker Hövding and outdoor clothing firm Houdini Sportswear.

“Throughout my entire career I have always worked with growing strong consumer brands by means of international expansion,” said Larsson. “This is one of the reasons why I have been following Mackmyra with fascination for many years, both as a shareholder and as a cask owner.

“What Magnus and the team have accomplished is truly impressive. It is with great excitement and inspiration that I now take over the relay baton as the new CEO, with the task of taking the foremost craft spirit company in Sweden through the next growth phase.”

Carl Klingberg, chairman of Mackmyra, added: “An important milestone was passed in 2019, when for the first time the sales of Mackmyra in Europe were larger than to Systembolaget in Sweden.

“The potential is very high, with the combined size of just the three most prioritised markets of Germany, the UK and France being about 40 times larger than the market in Sweden.

“New leadership is now needed, as Mackmyra moves onto a new stage, with larger export sales. In Johan, the Mackmyra board has found a senior executive with documented skills and experience of leading entrepreneurial companies through international growth phases.

“Thanks to the combination of Johan’s managerial skills and the creativity of Magnus, we in the board are looking forward to a promising future.”

New innovation

The Swedish whisky producer has also released a new seasonal single malt, called Mackmyra Grönt Te (green tea).

Described as “one of the distillery’s most innovative creations to date”, the whisky was finished in casks steeped with a blend of Japanese green tea leaves for 19 months. The tea leaves from Japan are said to provide a “subtly spicy and flavourful whisky”.

Created by master blender Angela D’Orazio, the “aromatic and floral” expression has notes of vanilla, green apple and herbal green tea.

“It’s been a real pleasure to be able to put the limits of whisky to the test and create this spring’s seasonal whisky,” said D’Orazio. “I’m very moved that I was given the opportunity to think free from old whisky traditions and combine my favourite flavour, green tea from Japan, with my great passion, whisky, even though something similar has never been done before.”

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