Diageo, a global leader in alcoholic beverages, has announced the appointment of Indian American Sally Grimes as Chief Executive Officer, North America effective Oct 1.
North America is Diageoâ€™s largest market and since fiscal 19, has grown 41%, in terms of net sales on a constant basis. Diageo is investing behind the further growth opportunity that the market presents including in its brands, portfolio and in its talent, according to a company press release.
â€œSallyâ€™s appointment further strengthens our world class executive team at Diageo,â€ Debra Crew, Chief Executive, commented. â€œSally brings a significant depth of experience in the consumer goods sector in North America and has a proven ability to drive substantial growth in businesses.â€
â€œWith over 25 yearsâ€™ experience in the food and beverage sector, Grimes is a proven leader in consumer goods and is well-known as a world class innovator and brand builder,â€ the release stated.
The daughter of immigrant parents from India â€œhas a passion for developing a winning culture and is a dedicated champion of inclusion and diversity.â€
Grimes was most recently the Chief Executive Officer at Clif Bar & Company, the leading maker of organic energy bars in North America.
There she successfully led the development of a 10-year strategic growth plan, designed the company’s purpose, created a clear portfolio strategy, and ultimately completed the successful sale of the company to Mondelez International.
Previously, as Group President of the Prepared Foods segment of Tyson Foods, Americaâ€™s largest food company, Grimes ran a $10 billion, 25,000-person organization, reporting to the Global CEO.
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Grimes’ early career began in banking, followed by multiple positions within large consumer goods companies, from Kraft Foods to Newell Brands.
Highlights of Grimesâ€˜ industry recognition include Fast Company’s “Top 100 Most Creative People in Business” and Fortuneâ€™s “Most Powerful Women to Watch.”
Grimes will report to Debra Crew, Chief Executive and will join the Diageo Executive Committee.
Grimes is an experienced non-executive director, having worked on a number of boards, including on the board of Beyond Meat, Inc., Continental Grain Company and Silver Oak Winery.
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Claudia Schubert who has been appointed as President & Chief Operating Officer, North America, will report to Grimes.
Diageo brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B and Buchananâ€™s whiskies, Smirnoff, CÃ®roc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.
Grimesâ€™ parents emigrated from India in the 1960s to pursue their education, according to a 2014 profile in the Chicago Tribune. She grew up in Bourbonnais, about an hour south of Chicago.
Grimesâ€™ first name is Shobana, and her middle name, Sally, â€œwas picked to honor her motherâ€™s first American friend after she arrived in the US,â€ the Tribune report said.
Her mother was a dietitian focused on the science of food, while her father was an administrator at a veterans hospital.
Grimes told the Tribune that she â€œcredits her parents for her empathy, remembering their open-door way of helping people, something she associates with the immigrant culture.â€