My Life’s Work | Sophie Gallois, Managing Director, The Gin Hub, Pernod Ricard

In this weekly series, we meet a Walpole member chief executive to discover what makes them tick, how they define success, and what keeps them awake at night. This week, Sophie Gallois, Managing Director, The Gin Hub, Pernod Ricard.

Sophie Gallois re-joined Chivas Brothers in July 2015 as Global Marketing Director with 20 years’ experience working across Pernod Ricard’s portfolio of wines and spirits.

Sophie has held a multitude of senior marketing roles within the group, including Brand Director for Luxury Whiskies at Chivas Brothers, Marketing Director at Ricard S.A. and Marketing Director at Pernod Ricard Spain. Today, she takes on the role of Managing Director of Pernod Ricard’s newest business unit, The Gin Hub, gathering all Pernod Ricard gin brands under one roof.

Her career has taken her across the world, working in New York, London, Madrid and Marseille, giving Sophie a truly global perspective on the drinks industry.

WHAT DOES BRITISH LUXURY MEAN TO YOU?
British luxury is special because it collides huge heritage and tradition with an edgy and modern take on the world.

WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR THE GIN HUB?
The Gin’s Hub mission is to make our gin brands, such as Plymouth or Beefeater, shine in a booming global market, through boldness, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Transforming brands and/or business models.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?
Making a creative vision come to life.

WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE?
A 50-50 Martini with Plymouth, Noilly Prat, very shaken, olives.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Across the world’s greatest cities, I get to meet a community of people – be they bartenders, entrepreneurs or influencers – with great character, a lot of passion, really connected to the latest trends.

LEAST?
When you meet these people the night can be quite short.  The alarm ringing after three hours sleep in an exotic time zone would be my least favourite moment.

WHAT IS THE SMARTEST BUSINESS IDEA YOU HAVE EVER HAD?
Sometimes, the smartest business ideas are just around you and need to be heard, captured and encouraged – from within the team, from outside the organisation and from people who love your products.  Being curious and open to people and ideas is what inspires me.

WHATS YOUR GUIDING PRINCIPLE?
Things need to have an impact and make a difference.  If not, it is best not to waste energy.  Sounds obvious but we need to watch-out constantly on where the time and resources of a team are directed.

WHICH LIVING PERSON DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
On a day to day basis it has to be Desmond Payne, our Beefeater Master Distiller. He has worked in gins for over 50 years, he is really at the pinnacle of his craft and smells up to 200 different types of junipers to select just a few – he has such knowledge but also humility and a sense of fun.

WHICH WORDS OR PHRASES DO YOU MOST OVER USE?
“Could we do this faster?”

WHAT DO YOU MOST VALUE IN YOUR FRIENDS?
Kindness. It is a value I rate highly.

IN A PARALLEL LIFE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
CMO of Airbnb or Netflix – two of the most loved brands globally at the moment. These are experiential brands driven by empathy, imagination and storytelling.

WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE ENTERING THE LUXURY INDUSTRY NOW?
Stay on top of what drives Desire for your target consumer – Creating Desire is everything.

www.pernod-ricard.com