Diageo, the world’s biggest spirits giant and Scotland’s biggest whisky business, has named Kathryn Mikells as its new chief financial officer (CFO), replacing Deirdre Mahlan.
Mikells joins from Xerox, where she held the same role since 2013. She spent the majority of her career at United Airlines, including serving as its CFO from 2008 to 2010.
She said she was “excited” to join Diageo, whose brands including Johnnie Walker, Bell’s and J&B whiskies, Smirnoff vodka and Guinness. She joins the group on 9 November. Mahlan is moving on to head up the company’s North America arm.
Mikells said: “This is a unique opportunity to work for a company with leading consumer brands, unparalleled global reach and the marketing and innovation agility to drive performance locally.”
The company’s chief executive Ivan Menezes said he was “delighted” at the new addition to the board and executive team.
He said: “Diageo is focused on driving performance from our core and on improving productivity to drive out cost to invest in growth”, adding that Mikells “has the experience of working with teams to drive disciplined performance management, which will contribute to the achievement of our performance ambition”.
Menezes also said that Diageo was “starting to see the benefits of the changes we have put in place and I am confident we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this growth sector”.
The company last month said the strong pound will cut its profits by £150 million this year, £50m more than previously expected.