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It’s all change at Diageo and last night I had the welcome opportunity over dinner to say both farewell and thank you to two individuals who have given great service to the company and to the travel retail sector.
As reported, Diageo recently announced a review of its operating model, resulting in the imminent departure of one of its most senior executives Diageo International President Stuart Fletcher (above).
Diageo’s duty free and travel retail operation, Global Travel & Middle East (GTME) is part of the International Division, headed by Stuart, who, as I have noted before, has been an outstanding and committed supporter of the travel retail channel.
Over a glass or two of excellent Argentinian Chardonnay and Californian Pinot Noir (Stuart knows his wines and can be relied upon for some esoteric choices), he told me how the whole ‘Trinity’ concept had become a game changer for the company’s approach to travel retail.
Though frustrated at some airports’ unwillingness to commit their own resources and funds to the principle of stakeholder collaboration, he feels the industry has come a long way in a short time.
On his watch Diageo’s travel retail standing has advanced considerably not just in industry terms but also internally, where no-one now doubts its credentials. He’s also been responsible for appointing four contrasting but highly talented individuals (Vince Horne, Ron Anderson, Phil Humphreys and Jane Ewing) to head GTME over recent years.
His final days with Diageo may have arrived but it seems certain that Stuart will resurface in a very senior role elsewhere. He has much to give in terms of understanding of brands and global markets and Diageo GTME’s and the International Division’s respective performances bear absolute testament to that fact.
Also on hand (with me and Jane Ewing) was former Corporate Relations Director Tim Rycroft, who has just left the company after four years’ service.
As the company rightly noted when his departure was announced, Tim helped transform GTME’s relations with key external stakeholders. In particular, he was central to GTME’s shift in emphasis to Trinity partnerships, a concept he championed passionately.
As the creator of the Trinity concept I cannot understate the impact of such support. Diageo’s attitude has played a huge role in silencing the sceptics (of which there were many) and helping to convince retailers and airport and of the whole principle of enhanced partnerships.
Tim, like his recent bosses (Jane Ewing, pictured below, and Phil Humphreys) was a big factor behind turning philosophical support into practical reality. We wish these two champions of Trinity well.