Diageo Announces Changes to North America Leadership Team

The global drinks corporation Diageo has announced changes to the leadership team of its North American business.

Ed Pilkington

Ed Pilkington, currently Chief Marketing Officer, Diageo Europe, is to be appointed Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, Diageo North America.

Claudia Schubert (pictured atop), currently General Manager, Diageo Continental Europe and Russia, is to be appointed President U.S. Spirits & Canada.

“We are delighted to welcome two of Diageo’s most talented and experienced senior leaders to North America,” says Deirdre Mahlan, President, Diageo North America. “Claudia and Ed have both played critical leadership roles in the recent transformation of our Europe business, and both bring world-class multi-market experience that will help drive their respective functions forward.”

Pilkington takes the helm of marketing and innovation from James Thompson. During his tenure Thompson established a platform for growth in North America, the company says. He recruited and developed top talent, overseen a step-up in creativity and successfully implemented a refreshed consumer-choice framework. Thompson has decided to return to the U.K. for personal reasons and currently, with no suitable openings within Diageo, has decided to pursue opportunities outside the company.

Pilkington has a long history with Diageo over the course of a 24-year career with the company that has seen him lead its marketing and innovation business in Australia, Latin America and the Caribbean and, prior to his current role, as leader of the company’s global vodka, rum and gin category.


Schubert takes on U.S. Spirits and Canada from Tom Looney. After a 30 year career with the business, Looney has decided to retire. During his time with the business, Looney has been a key contributor to the company’s strategy, performance, and navigation of distributor alignment, the company says. “His work has created stronger execution and focus across the U.S. Spirits commercial function.”

This marks a return to North America for Schubert, who has spent time in the U.S. and Canada in a number of senior commercial roles, including President, U.S. Control States & Canada. Schubert has most recently led Diageo Continental Europe to strong growth.

“Together Thompson and Looney have a combined 53 years with the business, and we are grateful for the significant impact and legacy they leave with us,” continues Mahlan. “Their leadership and passion will be missed, and we wish them the very best for the future.”

Pilkington and Schubert will transition to the North America market over the summer, reporting to Mahlan. Thompson will remain through July 31, 2018, and Looney will remain to support the transition through September 30, 2018.


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