Diageo Reshuffles Marketing Execs

Alcoholic beverages giant Diageo today named Jon Potter as CMO of Diageo North America. Potter previously served as president of global marketing for the Norwalk, Conn.-based company’s vodka and rum brands.

Potter replaces Debra Kelly-Ennis, who has been named president of Diageo Canada. Kelly-Ennis, in turn, is taking over her new post from John Kennedy, who has been appointed as managing director of Diageo Ireland.

“We are confident that Jon’s brand building acumen and exemplary leadership skills will further propel our business as we grow in the North American market,” Ivan Menezes, president and CEO of Diageo North America, said in a statement. “Jon brings to the role a great depth of marketing, commercial and global understanding.”

During his tenure as Diageo’s president of global marketing, Potter helped push more premium messaging and global expansion for both the Smirnoff and Captain Morgan brands. In 2007, Smirnoff eclipsed market leader Bacardi as the No. 1 selling liquor, with 9.3 million cases sold, per Impact, New York. Captain Morgan is the No. 3 liquor, which sold 6 million cases last year.

Potter’s appointment comes at a time when vodka is once again the crown jewel of Diageo. In addition to its efforts to grow the Smirnoff brand, the company purchased a 50% stake in Ketel One, for $900 million, in February.