Lee Applbaum, global chief marketing officer for Patrón and Grey Goose, is stepping down. His departure comes 15 months after Grey Goose-owner Bacardi Limited acquired Patrón in a $5 billion deal. Applbaum, who had been with Patrón, added Grey Goose to his duties in the wake of the acquisition.
In a press release today, Bacardi stated that Applbaum would resign effective Aug. 31 “in order to pursue other opportunities outside the company and spend more time with his family” but “will remain affiliated with the company as a special advisor to the board of directors of Bacardi International Limited.”
Bacardi says it will focus on external candidates to replace Applbaum. It will consider people who “bring both diverse experience and a luxury and lifestyle lens to Patrón and Grey Goose, two of the crown jewels in Bacardi’s enviable premium and super premium portfolio.”
Adrian Parker, who previously led digital marketing for Patrón and Grey Goose, was promoted to VP global marketing for Patrón. The company is interviewing internal candidates to lead integrated marketing for Grey Goose. This person, as well as Parker, will report to Applbaum’s replacement. (Parker appeared last week on Ad Age’s Marketer’s Brief podcast, discussing how the premium tequila is dealing with a range of new competitors.)
Applbaum most recently oversaw the development of a new campaign for Grey Goose called “Live Victoriously” that launched in April and moved the brand away from focusing on special occasions to lean more into everyday moments.
Mahesh Madhavan, CEO of Bacardi Limited, in the press release stated that “Lee is a brilliant marketer and brand builder and we thank him for his longtime leadership at Patrón and more recently, his work creating a new and prolific marketing and creative platform for Grey Goose which has invigorated the brand and shows fantastic promise right out of the gate.”
Stated Applbaum: “I remain a passionate evangelist for our brands and look forward to staying connected to the company and our people through my work as a special advisor. I now have the extraordinary privilege to pursue my personal passions in business and life and spend time with our only child in the handful of fleeting years before he leaves for college.”