Distell makes key appointments

Distell has made two top management changes to accommodate expansion in global travel retail and Taiwan.

Marius Fouché has been made Distell Taiwan MD, effective from July, after leading the company's duty-free division since 2013 and delivering year-on-year double-digit volume growth to outperform the sector.

In his newly created position, he will be advancing the company's existing infrastructure and expertise in this high-potential emerging market, as a springboard to launch some of its other leading brands. Distell’s Scottish Leader blend dominates Taiwan’s scotch whisky market.

Distell says Taiwan's GDP has been forecast to grow above 3% this year. Rising personal expenditure matched by a rising demand for distinctive global brands, indicates potential for premium spirits such as Bisquit cognacs, and Amarula cream liqueur.

Fouché said the buoyant duty-free channel, worth US$1,159bn in 2013 according to world tourism body UNWTO, was set to grow 3.3% a year. The sector has been dubbed by some observers as the sixth continent of the world, given that more than 1 billion people travel internationally every year.

His current role as md global travel retail will be filled by Richard Trimby, who previously worked for Treasury Wine Estates and Diageo’s travel retail division.

Fouché said that in addition to the global expertise Trimby would be now be contributing, Distell's duty-free team had been strengthened with the appointment of several seasoned regional general managers, initially in Europe and Asia, and more recently in Africa.

"When we became a separate business unit in 2013, our first task was to consolidate our presence in Europe, where we already enjoyed good trading relationships and distribution, and to build on these, and then also to evaluate the duty-free potential for our brands in Asia, capitalising on opportunities and strengthening distribution in key markets," said Fouché. 

He said the division had recently landed important listings in Chinese travel retail and was also building on relationships with retailers in Hong Kong, South Korea, Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand. He called Africa's travel retail market beyond South Africa still highly fragmented but with exciting potential in Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria.