Head of Innovation - Whiskey (maternity cover)

Celebrate life, every day, everywhere.

About us:

Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks company with an outstanding collection of brands, such as Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Guinness. Our purpose – Celebrating life, every day, everywhere – has an important role in our company, for our people, our diversity, our brands, in how we perform and how we create shared value .

Have you got what it takes to shape the future?

Would you like to take your career as an innovator to the next level? Do you fancy the chance of feeling like an entrepreneur but with the backing of the one of the best Drinks companies in the world?

We firmly believe that working in innovation at Diageo is pretty much as good as a marketing job gets. We work to create the future, responding to the issues and opportunities our brands, business, and customers face, and creating foundations that will fuel our future business growth. We are seeking a driven and curious individual for Maternity cover as the Head of Whisky Innovation - Europe.

Within the role you will be responsible for developing the Whisky Innovation Pipeline for the next 3-5 years and therefore experience working in Long Alcoholic Drinks (Beer, Cider, RTD) is preferential). You will also have 3 direct reports, so you will be a thoughtful leader who can inspire, coach and invest in your teams development, which will be fundamental.

There has never been a more exciting time to work in Whisky and Diageo is at the forefront of this with beer innovation with hugely successful launches like Haig Club and Johnnie Walker Blonde born out of this team.

You will be an experienced innovator to lead thinking in complex projects across both existing brands and NTW. We are looking for:

  • A disruptive thinker: you will be someone who can stand in the future, see opportunities others can’t and create strategies and ideas that can turn into scalable drivers for our future growth. You will be able to define multiple opportunities but likewise be able to cut through fast to create simple solutions we can bring to market and prioritise ruthlessly.
  • A creative: you will be able to demonstrate incredible creative thinking that disrupts and delights.
  • Inspiring: some of the projects you will work on will challenge the business and our way of thinking. You will need to be able to inspire and lead the business to buy into, and believe in, your vision.
  • Self starter: you will have a proven track record of working well autonomously in ambiguous and rapidly changing environments. The ability to define a way forward, execute and anticipate the challenges along the way is essential. You will be able to demonstrate exceptional drive.
  • Citizen of the world: you will have an exceptional external radar, be tuned into global and local trends with a keen eye on the future and what will be inspiring for consumers in the coming years. This will influence all areas of your work from strategy, to ideation, to liquid and pack design and beyond….
  • Influencer: Driving your agenda across multiple business partners and countries. Be prepared to have, and skilled at having tough conversations.

You will work with our elite R&D functions. We work with the best creative agencies who are true partners as we strive for extraordinary creative work. Our commercial teams are our partners who you will work hand in hand with to create innovations our consumers and customers will love. You will ideally have a marketing or innovation background but for the right person we will welcome different experiences in order to make a big difference. 

Top 5 Accountabilities

  • Strategy & Product Innovation: Through a natural instinct of what consumers want, lead the development of Concepts, Design and Communications for both NTW launches as well as brand extensions on our premium core brands. Able to frame and re-frame opportunities and inspire the organisation behind your vision.
  • Project management: You will be an expert in project management and mastering a range of project management tools will deliver all projects on time and within budget.
  • World-Class Execution Launches: Working in partnership with our Commercialisation Managers, set the execution standards for launches so that you & the markets deliver & execute full consumer & commercial launches flawlessly, to time and to budget. This will include new brand launches as well as NTW brands.
  • Influencing & Inspiring. It is critical that you can effectively influence and inspire our countries, brand teams, GK’s and the overall business to deliver your ambition. This means genuine relationships, tough conversations when needed and above all to be an expert in inspiring the business in the opportunity.
  • Performance management: Through a strong understanding of the business and understanding the relative commercial levers required to deliver the performance ambitions you will consistently measure and intervene to make sure all projects deliver to target.

About You:

You are a passionate leader and an effective influencer at all levels incl. Exec. You have marketing, strategy and innovation experience and have a proven track record of breakthrough strategic and creative thinking. You will demonstrate meticulous project management and commercial grounding to ensure delivery of plans. You will have strong entrepreneurial flair to both identity new opportunities and navigate your project challenges through the complex business landscape of Europe. You build strong interpersonal networks and inspire across the business. You are comfortable challenging and being challenged. You have a strong drive for results and motivation to deliver on-time, in full with meticulous budget management along the way.

Diversity statement

Celebrating our inclusive and diverse culture is core to Diageo’s purpose of “celebrating life every day everywhere”. This purpose is, in itself, inclusive in nature, as it values everybody irrespective of background, disability, religion, gender identity, sexuality or ethnicity.

We know that for our business to thrive and for Diageo to realize its ambition, we depend on having diverse talent with a range of backgrounds, skills and capabilities in each of the 180 countries in which we operate and to reflect our broad consumer base. We view diversity as one of the key enablers that helps our business to grow and our values, purpose and standards set the conditions for us to respect the unique contribution each person brings.

Flexibility is key to success in our business and many of our staff work flexibly in many different ways, including part-time, compressed hours, flexible location. Please talk to us about what flexibility means to you and don’t let anything stop you from applying.