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Bacardi names new MD for Australia and New Zealand

Family-owned spirits firm Bacardi has appointed Simon Owen as managing director for Australia and New Zealand.

Simon Owen Bacardi
Simon Owen, Bacardi’s new managing director for Australia and New Zealand

Owen will take up the position from 1 April, taking over from Mauricio Vergara, who recently joined Bacardi’s global leadership team as president and chief operating officer of Patrón Tequila and D’Ussé Cognac.

Owen has spent 13 years working in the drinks industry, most recently serving as Bacardi’s director of grocery for the UK since 2016.

He will relocate to Sydney from the UK for the new position.

“Thanks to the amazing work of Mauricio and the team, despite the challenges and setbacks of the pandemic, our core brands are flying in Australia and New Zealand – especially Patrón, which is going from strength to strength,” said Owen. “We’re not stopping there though and from day one, my priority is continuing that momentum and growing share even further.”

Owen sees potential for growth across the Bacardi portfolio, including St-Germain elderflower liqueur and Aberfeldy single malt Scotch whisky.

There is also a ‘pipeline of innovation’ in the works, particularly across the ready-to-drink (RTD) category with ‘exciting new launches’ planned to meet demand for convenient serves.

“While there are huge differences between the Australia and New Zealand markets and the UK, there are also lots of synergies,” Owen added. “I plan to use my experience to build on the fantastic work of the team and grow our partnerships in both the retail and bar industry.”

Owen will report to Francis Debeuckelaere, regional president for Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

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