Vince Hudson Joins Diageo as Smirnoff Global Brand Director

Former Samsung and Procter & Gamble marketer Vince Hudson is joining Diageo as global brand director for Smirnoff vodka and senior VP for the brand in the U.S., the company said Wednesday. He will report to James Thompson, the liquor giant’s North American chief marketing and innovation officer, and David Gates, Diageo’s global head of premium core brands and global brand teams.

Mr. Hudson worked at Samsung from March 2014 through last October, most recently as VP-U.S. marketing and mobile business unit, a dual role in which he was responsible for “leading the brand management discipline driving $16 billion in revenue,” according to Diageo. Before Samsung, Mr. Hudson spent 20 years at P&G in a variety of roles, including as VP in the beauty care division. He was one of Advertising Age’s “40 Under 40” in 2006, when he was 35, after making marketing director at P&G before age 30.

“We are truly delighted to have Vince’s depth of marketing expertise, his commercial mind-set and his leadership to drive the strategy for the Smirnoff brand and look forward to his many contributions,” Mr. Thompson and Mr. Gates said in an internal memo that was shared with Ad Age.

At Diageo, Mr. Hudson joins fellow former P&G marketer Jay Sethi, who joined the liquor marketer several months ago as VP of Smirnoff. Mr. Sethi will report to Mr. Hudson, a Diageo spokesman confirmed.

Mr. Hudson succeeds Matt Bruhn, who “will be transitioning over the next couple of months and then will be moving back to Australia,” according to a Diageo spokesman.

Smirnoff is the largest vodka brand in the U.S., with more than 12% dollar share as of March 20, according to IRI. Smirnoff, which is Diageo’s largest brand by volume in the U.S., grew 3.1% in the three months ending May 16, according to Sanford C. Bernstein. The brand’s agency is 72andSunny. Smirnoff has made electronic dance music a major part of its marketing. In April, the brand launched Smirnoff Ice Electric, a first-of-its-kind noncarbonated flavored malt beverage that was created to appeal to music and dance fans.

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