In January 2023, Bacardi will make a change to the leadership of its global travel retail division (GTR).
The world’s largest spirits company, Bacardi, widely known for its white rum, is reorganizing some of its top positions. Among the changes is the hiring of the company’s first female global managing director to head up its travel retail division.
The new position will be filled starting in January 2023 by Leila Stansfield, who is presently the on-trade sales director for Bacardi UK & Ireland. Vinay Golikeri, a London-based incumbent, is leaving travel retail after working in the industry for more than ten years to take on the role of managing director for India and the surrounding nations. Sanjit Singh Randhawa will be replaced by Golikeri in Dubai where he will take on the role of director of external relations for Asia, the Middle East, and Africa as well as global travel retail. The two biggest international markets for whisky—a product category that Bacardi focuses on—are India and the US. According to drinks analyst IWSR, there would be a 23% volume growth in India between 2021 and 2026. Cambridge University-educated Stansfield has prior, albeit brief, experience in the travel retail sector, having held several high-level positions, including finance director (from 2015 to 2016) and marketing director (from 2016 to 2017). She has worked with Bermuda-based Bacardi for 12 years, and maybe more significantly, she has held key positions in strategy creation where she directly reported to the CEO. As the travel retail channel emerges from a very deep trough, with shakeouts and some consolidation anticipated, Stansfield’s broader experience in forwarding strategic planning will likely be useful. Due to the rapid increase in travel after Covid, airport retailers Dufry and Autogrill are combining, and spirits companies are vying for customers’ attention. When she returns to the travel industry retail sector the following year, Stansfield said she will provide “mutually advantageous plans for growth with the stakeholders and retail partners.” For Bacardi’s competitors like Diageo, Pernod Ricard, and Brown-Forman, the travel retail liquor market has seen a remarkable resurgence this year after two years of recession. The world’s largest privately held spirits company, Bacardi, is coy about its financial success but has increased its airport marketing efforts this year and will do so going forward in the important months leading up to Christmas. For instance, in collaboration with Gebr. Heinemann and joint venture partner Unifree Duty-Free, Bacardi ran a pop-up whisky emporium at Istanbul Airport for three months from July to September. The location included Dewar’s and single malts Aberfeldy, Craigellachie, Glen Deveron, and Royal Brackla, along with wax-dipping services and vapor infusion jars. Vijay Subramaniam, regional president of Bacardi for Asia, the Middle East, and Africa as well as for global travel retail, commented on the executive reorganizations, saying that Vinay has played a crucial role in expanding the worldwide travel retail sector. This channel has had a particularly challenging few years, but Vinay has handled the pandemic’s problems admirably. Leila contributes tremendous business knowledge from across our company. She will make the most of strategic prospects for brand creation and business growth at this pivotal time for global travel retail. Looking ahead to her new role, Leila Stansfield adds, “I am very excited to be returning to global travel retail in January 2023, especially at a time when the market looks set to move towards full recovery. I look forward to reconnecting with our retail partners and stakeholders to accelerate and deliver mutually beneficial strategies for growth.”
The most prestigious rum company, Bacardi, also excels in super-premium vodka with the Grey Goose brand, which increased by 68% in sales last year, and premium gin with Bombay Sapphire, which will be the top-selling gin in travel retail in 2021 (by value).