Breakthru Beverage Group has promoted Brian Albenze to Executive Vice President of its United Division, dedicated to the Diageo and Moët Hennessy USA portfolios, effective July 1, 2020.
Albenze succeeds industry veteran Kevin O’Neil, whose vision led to the development and advancement of this specialized division in 2010, a division that has since grown to represent a team of more than 500 associates and $1.5 billion in annual revenue.
O’Neil, who intends to retire later this year, will move into a strategic advisory role in the interim to support a role transition and advise on key projects on behalf of the company.
As Executive Vice President, United Division, Albenze will assume responsibility of Breakthru’s Diageo and Moët Hennessy USA business across the company’s footprint, developing and executing national strategies and long-term planning efforts on behalf of the brands.
In addition, Albenze will manage the overall United Division team and support Diageo and Moët Hennessy USA’s key commercial initiatives while delivering upon the portfolios’ financial plans and goals.
Albenze will sit on the executive leadership team and report to Breakthru’s President and CEO, Greg Baird.
“We are deeply grateful for Kevin’s many contributions to drive Breakthru’s success over the years. His strategic focus, sharp intuition and commitment to integrity have been critical factors in bolstering key partnerships across our footprint and in mentoring many leaders within our organization and industry,” says Baird. “Throughout his 30-year career, Brian has fostered strong supplier relationships, including Diageo and Moët Hennessy USA. This history, coupled with Brian’s extraordinary leadership in introducing innovative tools and technologies to Breakthru’s customer engagement efforts, cements our confidence in his ability to build on the United Division’s success and drive continued growth.”
Since 2016, Albenze has served as Executive Vice President, Commercial Excellence, for Breakthru, leading the company’s commercial platform and capabilities as well as driving strategy for commercial activities including sales team effectiveness, commercial business strategy, communications and branding initiatives.
In partnership with the company’s sales and IT teams, Albenze helped bring Breakthru’s tools and technologies to market, the company says, including a digital platform scaled across the company’s footprint to engage customers and drive sales.
Previously, Albenze worked for Charmer Sunbelt Group as President of Connecticut Distributors Inc., the second largest wine and spirits distributor in Connecticut.
Throughout much of his career at Charmer Sunbelt Group, Albenze focused on supporting Diageo and Moët Hennessy USA portfolios, including managing the company’s dedicated sales and marketing capabilities in Colorado in 2004, and launching the first dedicated sales division in Washington D.C. in 2000.
“I admire Kevin and his significant accomplishments at Breakthru Beverage Group and throughout his career in the industry. He is a visionary leader and I feel honored by the opportunity to follow in his footsteps and build on the momentum he has helped create,” says Albenze. “As Breakthru continues towards its vision to serve as the leading beverage company in North America, our commitment to lead with increased efficiency and effectiveness remains resolute. I look forward to returning to support some of the most iconic brands in our industry and building on the success of this key Breakthru division.”