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Ged Welch Thierry’s Managing Director’s Leaders And Mentors

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As part of our Christmas season of articles from industry leaders here we ask
Ged Welch, managing director, Thierry’s to say who he regards as the key figures in the drinks trade.

Who do you see as the leading figures in the UK drinks industry and why?

The likes of Paul Walsh, ceo of Diageo, Troy Christensen, ceo of Constellation, Dan Jago, Tesco and other BWS heads. These people create the context in which we’re all playing.The ‘volume versus value’ equation is played out largely amongst the big boys and this drives consumer behaviour and expectations.
Who have been your biggest influencers?
Sandy Murray at Johnnie Walker is someone I really admired. At a time of immense change, he demonstrated a style that was value-driven and all about learning, listening and support, with an eye on the long term and belief ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things.

Sir Anthony Greener, chairman of Diageo until 2000. He was incredibly focused and demanded the very highest level of quality in everything we did – in every single process. He was an early advocate of drinking better, drinking responsibly and confident pricing. Anthony was at the helm when some of the most successful brands were created/revamped and relaunched. He oversaw positioning of brands which are still going strong today.

Who do you see as being the stars of the future and why?
They will be the early adopters, most likely those involved in the new world of social media, collaborators in value, people who are creative and learn in an experiential way. Gary Vaynerchuk is a good example of somebody who’s not afraid to shake things up and question the status quo.

What is the biggest leadership challenge facing the drinks industry in 2010?
Managing the challenge of volume versus value and moving from a commodity to where real value is. Showing leadership under pressure, holding your nerve and rising creatively to the challenge. It’s inappropriate in business to be defensive, even when you feel you are under attack.

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Saturday, September 23, 12:20 am

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