By Domenica Goduto
THE WOMAN who turned Pot Noodle and Barcardi Breezers into household names is turning her attention to Scotch whisky.
Marketing guru Stella David has been tasked with giving the dram a “cooler” image, to appeal to younger drinkers.
Responsible for the iconic “Bacardi Cat”, who went on sneaky night-time excursions to clubs while his elderly owner was sleeping, David is credited with inventing the alcopop.
David, 47, will assume her new role as chief executive at William Grant and Son on August 10th, after leaving her job as Bacardi’s chief marketing officer earlier this month.
It is hoped that she will galvanize the whisky industry by increasing the drink’s appeal for a younger market, as well as becoming the first woman to head a whisky company, according the Scotch Whisky Association.
A spokesperson for the group said: “We believe Stella David will be the first female chief executive of a Scotch whisky company in the modern era.
“She joins the company at a moment when there is real optimism about our international prospects.”
Last year the industry set a record for Scotch exports, reaching a value of £3.1billion.
The Cambridge-educated former engineer has already transformed the image of other brands, such as Pot Noodle, which she helped turn into one of the UK’s bestselling snacks.
Whisky expert Regis Lemaitre, a former Gleneagles bar manager, said: “Whisky is not a sexist drink.
“There have always been women involved in whisky making and many believe they have a better nose than most men.
“It’s hard to say what the possible ramifications of the appointment could be, but anything that raises awareness and gets people enjoying drinking whisky is positive.
“In the past whisky was typically a drink of the older gentleman but I think that has changed.”
Peter Gordon, chairman of the Aberdeenshire-based William Grant and Son, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Stella as we continue our journey to grow the company and become a brand-led business, with offerings that are the envy of the industry.”
Founded in 1886 by William Grant and still controlled by his direct descendants, the company owns a number of well-known brands, including single malt whiskies Glenfiddich and The Balvenie, as well as premium gin Hendricks.