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New UK commercial director for William Grant

Published:  25 February, 2020

Leading UK spirits producer William Grant & Sons has made Joanna Austin its commercial director for the UK and Ireland.

The move is a promotion for Austin, who was previously the family-owned company’s head of retail and e-commerce, where she spearheaded the recent launch of Verano gin, Aerstone single malt and Atopia - a 0.5% spirit.

Neil Barker, MD at William Grant, said: “We pride ourselves on nurturing the best talent and building great career experiences for all of our people.

“I’m delighted that the opportunity for Joanna to continue her own career journey has come about as a result of our focus on internal progression and development.

“Joanna has a track record of building strong and lasting partnerships, which will be vital as we seek to build ever stronger customer relationships and expand our presence in line with our vision to create the UK’s best premium spirits experiences."

Austin said: “I’m so excited to lead our commercial agenda across the UK and Ireland, driving our dynamic business forward in partnership with our customers.

“I’m also personally passionate about developing our business leaders of tomorrow, entrusting them with the future management and direction of our five-generation family business, something which is extremely special and unique in today’s business world.”

Matt Billinghurst, the encumbent commercial director UK and Ireland, has been promoted to the role of MD Nordics, Northern Europe and Southern Europe.

Billinghurst joined the company from PepsiCo in 2018.

As Harpers previously reported, profits at William Grant were down last year, following major investments in a new distillery for Hendrick’s gin and a new packaging facility for the company’s premium brands.