Phil Parnell of Drambuie dies after short illness

Phil Parnell, executive chairman of the Drambuie Liqueur Company, has died suddenly. He was admitted to hospital suffering from cancer of the pancreas earlier this month and died on June 16. He was 59.

Managing director of Drambuie, Michael Kennedy, said: “Phil has been the driving force behind the rejuvenation of Drambuie over the last six years and led the company from its gradual decline to a thriving international drinks brand.

“On a personal note he was a great visionary, a skilful marketer and incredibly interested in the development of all the team around him.

“Phil had very many friends and colleagues around the world and this will come as a shock to all those in the drinks and other industries he has been involved in over the last 36 years.   Naturally our thoughts are very much with Phil’s family at this time.”

Richard Stone, a former non-executive chairman of Drambuie who retired from the company last year, will take on the role of non-executive chairman, the role he held until December2010.

Drambuie had begun succession planning some nine months ago, with the appointment of Phil as executive chairman in January 2011 and Michael Kennedy as managing director at the same time.

Phil was appointed to the boards of Drambuie Limited and the Drambuie Liqueur Company in 2004, subsequently becoming CEO in February of the following year.  He returned the company to profitability and was responsible for the development of the Drambuie brand rejuvenation strategy.

Prior to joining Drambuie, Phil held a number of senior roles throughout his distinguished career, including 19 years at Guinness/United Distillers and six years at Dunlop Slazenger, overseeing the brand and business turnaround prior to its sale in 2004.

A memorial service for Phil will be held at a later date. If wished, the family is accepting donations on behalf of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund c/o Beacon Funeral Services, 27 Hazlemere Rose Avenue, Bucks, H15 7PH, 01494 81 81 81.