UK – Diageo, the renowned maker of Johnie Walker and Don Julio, has announced the appointment of Julie Brown as a Non-Executive Director, effective from August 5, 2024. 

Julie will take over as chair of the audit committee, succeeding Alan Stewart, who is set to retire from the board just before Diageo’s annual general meeting in September 2024. 

Julie has been Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director of GSK plc since 1 May 2023, prior to which she served as Chief Operating and Financial Officer and Executive Director, Burberry Group plc between 2017 and 2023. 

Julie has also served as Group CFO of Smith & Nephew plc from 2013 to 2017 having previously worked for 25 years at AstraZeneca PLC in various finance, commercial and strategic roles 

Julie’s notable contributions extend to her role as a Non-Executive Director and Audit Chair of Roche Holding AG from 2016 to 2022, as well as being a member of the UK Prime Minister’s Business Council.  

Diageo chairman, Javier Ferrán, said: “Julie brings many years of experience in financial, commercial and strategic roles in international companies operating in highly regulated industries. She is strongly committed to enabling diversity in business and to creating sustainable, long-term value for stakeholders.” 

Fusion by Diageo 

Julie’s appointment comes after Diageo recently announced the shortlisted participants for its ‘Fusion by Diageo’ program, an initiative to foster innovation and collaboration.  

According to the company, out of hundreds of applications, 17 innovative brands have been selected for the inaugural cohort of Fusion alumni.  

The 13-week program involves concept ideation, leveraging Diageo’s industry expertise, consumer insights, external speakers, and coaching to develop digital concepts focused on consumer needs. 

The theme for the first cohort is ‘Celebrate at Home,’ exploring new avenues for how individuals unwind, experiment, and entertain in their own spaces.  

Benjamin Lickfett, Diageo’s Global Head of Breakthrough Innovation – Digital, expressed excitement stating, “It has been an incredibly exciting start to the inaugural Fusion programme, and we have been so impressed by the creativity and enterprise of each participant.

We have such a diverse cohort, spanning five continents, with this diversity shining through in the ideas that will be pitched next week.” 

The participants are currently in Phase One, refining their concepts, and will soon pitch them to Diageo. Those selected for Phase Two will work towards an in-person ‘Demo Day,’ where Diageo will choose up to five concepts to progress to a post-programme pilot stage.  

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