Sir Anthony Tennant, Former Guinness Chief Executive, Dies At 80August 8, 2011
Sir Anthony Tennant, former chief executive of Guinness, died on August 4 at 80. Tennant began his career in advertising, with the London firm Mather & Crowther, and had a hand in storied 1960s ad campaigns for such companies as Sainsburys and Schweppes.
In 1970, Tennant became marketing director of Truman, a London brewer that soon after became part of the Grand Metropolitan hospitality conglomerate. In 1976, Tennant was named managing director of GrandMet’s spirits unit, International Distillers & Vintners (IDV). During his time at IDV’s helm, Tennant gained a reputation both for cost-cutting and brand-building, helping bring such brands as Baileys and Malibu to prominence. By 1983, he’d been appointed chairman of IDV, and also held the post of deputy chief executive of GrandMet before being tapped to lead Guinness in 1987.
At Guinness, Tennant took on a bloated brand portfolio, which he soon sharply rationalized while also aggressively emphasizing a more global approach for the company’s top-selling brands, including Guinness and Johnnie Walker. He formed an alliance with Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) largely to boost Guinness’s overseas profile. Within a few years, some 80% of the company’s profits were coming from beyond the U.K.
Tennant, who advanced to executive chairman of Guinness in 1989, retired from the company in 1992 (five years before Guinness agreed to merge with GrandMet to form Diageo). He became senior adviser to the London operation of Morgan Stanley, and, in 1993, was appointed chairman of auction house Christie’s. In 2001, Tennant was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York for his alleged role in a price-fixing scheme with rival auction house Sotheby’s (whose chairman, Alfred Taubman, was also indicted). While maintaining his innocence, however, Tennant made it clear that he wouldn’t face the charges in a U.S. court, and extradition wasn’t possible because price-fixing is a civil—not criminal—offense under English law.
Following the charges made against him, Tennant—who was knighted in 1992—largely receded from the public spotlight. He is survived by his wife, Rosemary, and their two sons.Subscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.
Tagged : Guinness, Johnnie Walker, LVMH
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