John Menzies chief to depart Edinburgh group to take up role at William Grant & Sons

John Menzies has seen its chief executive head for the departure gate to take up a top role at whisky maker William Grant & Sons.

Giles Wilson is to leave John Menzies to join whisky maker William Grant. Picture: Joanna Jamrozy
Giles Wilson is to leave John Menzies to join whisky maker William Grant. Picture: Joanna Jamrozy

The Edinburgh-headquartered aviation services group said Giles Wilson was leaving to become chief financial officer at the spirits giant behind brands including Glenfiddich, Drambuie and Hendrick’s Gin.

Wilson will stay with Menzies until 31 August to ensure a “seamless transition of his duties”, the firm added.

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However, his chief executive’s position will not be replaced in a bid to “streamline the executive structure”. Executive chairman Philipp Joeinig is to take “a more active role” in over-seeing the running of the business, which has been badly affected by the downturn in the aviation industry triggered by the coronavirus crisis.

Earlier this week, Edinburgh aviation services group Menzies provided an upbeat outlook saying trading in the second quarter was ahead of its own expectations despite the turbulence caused by the pandemic.

The senior executive team will now consist of chief operating officer Mervyn Walker, chief financial officer Alvaro Gomez-Reino and corporate affairs director John Geddes, who will increase their duties as required and will each report directly to Joeinig.

The group has also initiated a search for a new independent non-executive director.

Joeinig said: “I would like to record my thanks to Giles who has made a substantial contribution to the group over the last nine years. He leaves us with our very best wishes, and I am sure he will be a great success in his new role.

“I remain excited about the future for Menzies. We are a very strong market participant with excellent prospects as the sector begins to recover.”

William Grant said Wilson would take up his role there on 1 September. He will join the company’s supervisory and executive board and will be based at Strathclyde Business Park.

Simon Hunt, chief executive at William Grant, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Giles into this important role.

“We look forward to benefiting from his extensive financial and international experience. Giles will help navigate our business through the ongoing coronavirus crisis and into the next phase of our growth as an independent family-owned business.”

Wilson added: “I am excited to be joining such an established independent family-owned business. These are uniquely difficult times, but I am really looking forward to contributing to the continued success of this dynamic business with such well-established global brands.”

Earlier this week, Menzies provided an upbeat outlook saying trading in the second quarter was ahead of its own expectations despite the turbulence caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The firm, which expects flight activity to recover from early July, also said it had sufficient liquidity to support itself during the coronavirus crisis into 2021.

Shore Capital analyst Robin Speakman said: “We continue to anticipate profitable operations returning at Menzies as airlines resume flights.”

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