THAIS HAVE SWITCHED OVER TO PREMIUM ALCOHOL AND A VALUE-OVER-VOLUME PLAY SPELLS OPPORTUNITY FOR ALBERTO IBEAS OF DRINKS GIANT DIAGEO MOET HENNESSY
ALBERTO Ibeas, managing director of Diageo Moet Hennessy (Thailand), is facing strong headwinds in leading the global alcoholic drinks company in Thailand.
Ibeas says the alcohol market is expected to continue to slow down as a result of economic pressures and a global shift in consumption in which people are drinking “better, but not more”. As Thailand is no exception, he says, this creates an opportunity to promote premium drinks and experiment with innovation. Ibeas notes that Thai consumers are very keen to try new products and have embraced the cocktail culture.
“Our ambition for Diageo Moet Hennessy Thailand is to become the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer goods company in Thailand. To achieve this goal, DMHT promotes a culture of ‘Celebrating Life Every Day Everywhere by Drinking Better Not More’. This can be interpreted as seeking to be the best you can be at work, in society and in the communities where we operate,” Ibeas says.
He took over as managing director of DMHT at the start of last year. The Spaniard brought with him 19 years of broad functional and regional experience to his role at Diageo, where he is focusing on driving sustainable business growth for the company in Thailand and “delivering benefits to all stakeholders through clear strategies and DMHT innovations”, he says.
A graduate of Universidad Comercial de Deusto in Bilbao, Spain, and Stockholm University in the Swedish capital, Ibeas started his career in finance decision support and later took on finance leadership roles across Latin America and the Caribbean, the Andean region and in the UK.
He has also held global positions with Diageo’s treasury and group strategy teams and in 2014 moved to commercial roles in his native Spain. In recent years, he led the business on the Iberian peninsula, with responsibilities for Spain, Portugal and the Canaries.
Under his leadership, the business has returned to growth after many challenging years and is once again a key player in the whisky and gin categories. He was responsible for shaping the next phase of Diageo’s route-to-consumer in Iberia, more than doubling the company’s coverage and transforming the ways of working with its wholesale partners.
Ibeas has been described as a natural leader and is known for building and motivating highly engaged teams, transmitting to them his passion in working for DMHT. He is also an avid supporter of the local communities where the company works and was actively involved in sustainability and responsibility programmes such as Diageo Learning for Life, which was applied across the Iberian region.
In his spare time, Alberto enjoys travelling, music, sports and reading. He is married and is a proud father of three.
He says that, in trying to do the best he can at work, he wants to inspire his colleagues to develop innovations and new experiences in response to Thai consumers’ changing lifestyle. These changes are typified by Thais’ preferences for premium drinks enjoyed on more relaxed occasions.
“Diageo is the world’s biggest premium spirits company. Together with our joint venture partner in Thailand, LVMH, we have an unbeatable range of global iconic brands,” he says.
“We believe that despite the market difficulties and economic challenges, there are significant opportunities for us to offer exciting celebratory experiences to our consumers.”
“Some tangible examples are the launch of our limited edition Johnnie Walker White Walker and the Fire & Ice Malt Whiskies, all in partnership with globally acclaimed HBO series Game of Thrones. Also our beautiful and Japanese inspired Smirnoff ICE Umeshu, the launch of The Singleton Malt series (perfect to pair with spicy food), and many more brands that we will be introducing in the market in the months to come.
“Being the best in society and the soon launch our Fire and Ice Malts in partnership with Game of Thrones. This is a collection of seven malts inspired by the Houses of the globally acclaimed Game of Thrones series. We will be bringing a very limited number of bottles into Thailand, we so suggest you rush to get yours.
“This year, and for the first time in Thailand, we will take our global World Class competition to several cities in Thailand. This is the best bartender competition in the world, where thousands of bartenders globally compete to be the best.
“We will have finalists from all corners of Thailand, who will then compete to be the Thai representative in the global final that will be celebrated in Glasgow in September. We will, also for the first time in Thailand, celebrate a cocktail festival in Bangkok at the same time as the Thai World Class final.”
He says that, from an innovation point of view, the company has launched Smirnoff ICE Umeshu, Johnnie Walker White Walker limited edition, and the Singleton Malts series.
“These launches were all very successfully executed,” he says. “The company will be launching two new products in the next couple of months, but we will keep that confidential for now.”
Alberto Ibeas says he wants to tap a new vibe in Thailand in which consumers increasingly opt for social settings that favour premium drinks enjoyed in relaxed environments. Diageo Moet Hennessy is readying some new releases that cater to this trend.