The Three Things I’ve Learnt… | Francois Bazini, Managing Director, House of Scotch Gin & Irish, Beam Suntory

With 2021 well underway, we have been speaking with our members about the impact the past 12 months has had on their brands, what they have learnt from the situation – and how they will take these learnings from 2020 through into 2021 and beyond.

Today we hear from Francois Bazini, Managing Director of the House of Scotch Gin & Irish at one of Walpole’s newest members, Beam Suntory – who explains the effect of the pandemic from both a personal and professional perspective, and gives his predictions for 2021, once lockdown 3 is done and dusted.

Francois Bazini’s career has taken him across the world, from London, Paris and Madrid to New York and Toronto. He previously held senior roles at the Boston Consulting Group and PepsiCo before joining Beam Suntory in 2014 as SVP marketing international, and then Managing Director for Scotch, Gin and Irish House. Francois also holds an MBA from Northeastern University in Boston.

The Personal: 

Having spent more time at home in 2020 and 2021 than ever before, I’ve realised you must make the most of the situation and find enjoyment in areas and activities that previously you may have overlooked”. But on the flip side, being at home constantly does make you crave the external stimulation and enjoyment we may well have taken for granted before the pandemic. Overall, it’s all about finding the right balance. 

The Professional:

The rise of virtual meetings and video calls has taught me how you can sustainably do great work with (and feel close to) people you have never actually met in person. Connections can be forged and strengthened despite not being in the same room or having an existing relationship. It is all about taking a pragmatic approach to find the right and best answers. However I crave doing ‘GEMBA’, a Japanese word we use at Beam Suntory that means going where the action is, seeing consumers in action or walking around in the distilleries.

Predictions for 2021:

Unlike other economic recessions, where the mood is gloomy and takes time to recover, I expect people will want to go out and enjoy themselves as soon as possible… so I predict “revenge traveling” and “revenge spending” will be a major reaction to the restrictions of 2020.  I would also expect a continued shift towards Asia, which continues to fuel luxury growth and where relevant brands in this space are truly able to thrive.

www.beamsuntory.com/en
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