Raja Banerji is leaving after two years at the marketing helm of Pernod Ricard UK having navigated the company through the pandemic by pivoting to a strategy focused on digital and ecommerce. 

Pernod Ricard UK has appointed experienced drinks marketer Leanne Banks as marketing director to lead the company’s digital transformation. She replaces Raja Banerji who will be returning to Pernod Ricard India to head up its prestige portfolio.

As well as driving its digital transformation, Banks will oversee the development of integrated marketing campaigns, innovation, brand advocacy, consumer experiences, digital and ecommerce across the beverage giant’s UK operations.

She has been tasked with putting consumers “at the heart of all campaigns” and driving creativity within Pernod Ricard’s portfolio of brands, which includes Beefeater, Jameson, Malibu and Absolut Vodka.

Banks has more than 20 years of experience working in the drinks and luxury industry. She joins Pernod Ricard from consumer jewellery brand Monica Vinader, where she has been general manager of brand and marketing since January 2020.

Prior to this she was European brand director for Grey Goose at Barcadi, before which she spent nearly a decade at LVMH leading brands including Belvedere Vodka and Moët & Chandon.

This is Banks’ second stint at Pernod Ricard UK, having worked at the company from 2005 to 2008, beginning as Malibu’s brand manager and then senior brand manager on Havana Club.

Her wealth of marketing experience, across the drinks industry and beyond, will be instrumental in accelerating the delivery of our premium portfolio of brands to consumers.

David Haworth, Pernod Ricard

In her new role as UK marketing director she will report directly to UK managing director David Haworth and become a member of Pernod Ricard UK’s management committee.

Haworth says: “I am delighted to welcome Leanne to the team. Her wealth of marketing experience, across the drinks industry and beyond will be instrumental in accelerating the delivery of our premium portfolio of brands to consumers. I wish Raja the best of luck with his new role back in Pernod Ricard India.”

Ready for a ‘big burst’: How Pernod Ricard plans to attract younger gin drinkers

Departing marketing boss Banerji spent two years as UK marketing director, in a career with Pernod Ricard totalling 18 years across two stints.

During his tenure, Banerji upped the company’s focus on digital and off-trade channels to mitigate the closure of the on-trade as a result of the pandemic. This was supported by brands such as Absolut Vodka holding at-home cocktail making lessons with cocktail making kits.

Sales for the spirit company’s ecommerce division grew by 92% in the year ending 30 June 2020.

Banerji also oversaw a drive by Beefeater in the UK to build on the rapid growth in demand for gin, with new flavours and a marketing campaign to bring in a younger audience to the brand.

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