Brown-Forman Hires CMO

NEW YORK Spirits maker Brown-Forman named a new chief marketing officer, John Kristin “Kris” Sirchio, the former global head of professional products of Syngenta, a Swiss agribusiness firm.

Sirchio, who joined Syngenta five years ago, led the global vision, growth strategy and operation plans for the company. Previously, Sirchio was at Procter & Gamble, where he held a variety of positions in the company’s European operations.

Sirchio succeeds Mark McCallum, who was recently promoted to evp, COO. These changes are part of a succession plan prompted by the fact that former COO James Bareuther will turn 65, the mandatory retirement age for top B-F execs, next year.

The move comes after Andrew Varga, B-F’s director of marketing, North America region, announced last week he was leaving the company to become svp and CMO of pizza chain Papa John’s. Andrew Varga is the brother of Paul Varga, CEO of B-F.

B-F is best known for its portfolio of spirits, which includes Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort and Finlandia vodka, among other brands. The company spent $34 million on advertising in 2008 (down from $50 million in 2007), and $10 million through June of this year, per Nielsen.

The client works with numerous shops, with Havas-owned Arnold in Boston crafting recent efforts for Southern Comfort and Jack Daniels.

Nielsen Business Media