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Beam Suntory names chief diversity and inclusion officer

Maker’s Mark owner Beam Suntory has appointed Victoria Russell to the newly created role of chief diversity and inclusion officer.

Victoria Russell will join Beam Suntory in January 2021

Russell, who previously worked at Papa John’s, and Jack Daniel’s maker Brown-Forman, will report directly to chief human resources officer Paula Erickson. The new role is effective from 11 January 2021.

In the new position, Russell will lead diversity and inclusion across talent acquisition, career development and employee retention, marketing, community relations, and help build organisational capability to better recognise bias and boost an inclusive mindset. She will join the firm’s senior leadership team.

Russell will help develop diversity guidelines for Beam Suntory’s supplier base and will work directly with employee impact groups and leaders across the business.

“We are determined to build a workforce that looks more like our consumers, and we’ve set ambitious goals to accelerate the progress we’re making,” said Beam Suntory CEO Albert Baladi.

“The people of Beam Suntory are passionate about continuing to build our diverse and inclusive culture, and we’ve created the position of chief diversity and inclusion officer to elevate our approach.

“I’m delighted Victoria will take on this important leadership role, and I’m confident that she is the leader who can help take our work to the next level as she works hand in hand with our brand teams, employee impact groups and leaders across the business.”

Prior to joining Beam Suntory, Russell worked for 14 years at pizza restaurant franchise Papa John’s International in Louisville, Kentucky. Russell’s final position at the firm saw her take charge of diversity, equity and inclusion. Prior to joining Papa Johns, Russell honed her human resources experience at drinks company Brown-Forman and heath insurance firm Humana.

“I am thrilled to be joining Beam Suntory at this critical moment for businesses, and for our society,” said Russell.

“Beam Suntory’s leaders understand both the economic and equitable benefits to fully embracing inclusivity as a strategic imperative, not just for our organisation, but for our industry and society at large. I am honoured to bring stewardship to this evolving journey.”

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