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Global Brands appoints new MD

Franklin & Sons owner Global Brands has named Julian Atkins its managing director as the company aims to surpass £135 million (US$170.5m) in turnover over the next five years.

Global Brands MD Julian Atkins
Julian Atkins is the managing director of Global Brands

Effective immediately, Atkins has taken over the role from co-founder Mark James who has stepped down to “pursue new opportunities”.

James, who co-founded the UK-based company with chairman Steve Perez, became managing director in 2009 after initially serving as sales director.

Perez said: “I would like to thank Mark James for his outstanding contribution to Global Brands, who has been integral to the company’s development and success, since joining in 1993.”

Atkins has worked at Global Brands for nearly 15 years, most recently holding the position of commercial director.

During his time at the company, Atkins was instrumental in the relaunch of tonic and mixer producer Franklin & Sons, which is now a £14m (US$17m) turnover brand.

The company is available in 61 countries, including the US, and has a foothold in the hotel, restaurant and catering sector (Horeca).

Atkins also supported the recent launch of ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail range Be.

Global Brands is the largest supplier of canned cocktails in the UK off-trade (Nielsen RTD data 2023).

“Julian, a respected, well-known, and popular figure in the industry, brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of success to this role,” Perez added. “Under his leadership, I am confident that the company will continue to thrive exponentially, to achieve new heights.”

Global Brands has also promoted on-trade sales director Matt Bulcroft to the role of marketing director, while Mike Smith has rejoined the business as UK sales director.

Rebecca Jarvis-Hook has taken on the newly created position of head of people and human resources.

Global Brands said the recent hires reflect its five-year growth plan, which includes the aim of breaking into 100 global markets.

Atkins commented: “We have an ambitious five-year growth strategy, which will see Global Brands expand on its export business and move into new categories within the drinks sector.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with Matt, Mike and our broader first-class team, to develop our portfolio, through an exciting combination of acquisition, NPD and distribution agreements.”

The Chesterfield-headquartered company saw its revenue reach £75m (US$95m) in the year to September 2023, up from £55m (US$69.5m) in the 12 months to September 2019.

Global Brands’ portfolio also includes Hooch, Corky’s and Lustre liqueur, as well as RTD brands VKAll Shook Up and Shake Baby Shake.

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