Why Bacardi Doesn’t Need a Global CMO

Spirits giant creates two top roles, eliminating global-regional divide

Two months ago, new Bacardi chief Mike Dolan shook up its agency relationships by consolidating work at BBDO and OMD. Since then he has focused on his own ranks, announcing a reorganization that cuts out the role of a central CMO in favor of two regional top marketers who report directly to Dolan.

Mauricio Vergara is the new CMO North America and global lead for Bacardi and Grey Goose, based in Hamilton, Bermuda. Vergara was appointed global marketing head of rums in April and joined Bacardi in 2013. 

Shane Hoyne has become CMO Europe and global lead for Martini, Dewar's William Lawson's and Bombay and is based in London. Hoyne has been at William Grant & Sons, where he most recently was global brand director for Grants Whiskey, Drambuie and Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey. Previously he spent 11 years at Heineken.

Vergara and Hoyne represent new 'Centers of Excellence' at the company and replace a London-based global marketing group that has widely been perceived as not interacting with Bacardi's regional CMOs. The idea is to remove the separation between global and regional.

"We want to get rid of that space, that distinction," said Dolan. "We've done away with separation between global and regional. This is all about getting closer to the customer."

Dolan said that he spends a lot of his time on marketing issues. "We've already made the agencies change in record time," he said, adding that Bacardi—which has been losing sales for its flagship rums—is going to make whatever changes necessary to get things right.

As a result of the new operating structure, Dima Ivanov, who was promoted to CMO in January, is leaving the company.

Another major shift in the way Bacardi handles marketing is the hire of Zara Mirza, who becomes the London-based head of creative excellence, a new role. The former partner and strategic business lead at Bartle Bogle Hegarty joined Bacardi last year as global commuications director, where she has been developing the next version of the company's rum heritage campaign "Untameable Since 1862."

Dolan, well known in the agency world as the former CEO of Young & Rubicam, picked Mirza for the job because of her BBH background and she is already getting deeply involved with new creative partner BBDO. 

"She understands agencies, a world I came from, and the need for a good brief and the constant interaction with a creative team in developing it and executing it," Dolan said. A key part of that will be to ensure Bacardi incorporates integration into that development process. Dolan wants to increase digital to 50 percent or more of all Bacardi's media spending from its current level of 30 percent. One of his new edicts at the company is, "We don't want something that is TV-centric."

Bacardi is also in the process of consolidating its hundreds of below-the-line agency partners around the world.