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Diageo Taps Wirtz As Exclusive Broker For Canada

March 4, 2014

Diageo has appointed Wirtz Beverage Group (WBG) as its exclusive broker for the Canadian market. The move marks the Chicago-based WBG’s entry into Canada, and also signifies a market shift by Diageo from a direct sales force to a broker model. Explaining the change, Diageo North America president Larry Schwartz said in a statement, “This arrangement with Wirtz Beverage provides us with the best of both worlds—a broker that understands our business and a dedicated Canadian sales force that knows our brands and the Canada market. We’ve seen the benefits of this model in other parts of the world and can see how it will make Canada a more agile and efficient business allowing us to further invest in Diageo and our brands.”

Diageo’s drinks portfolio will be represented by a dedicated sales force within the new brokerage entity, Wirtz Beverage Canada. Many of the current Diageo Canada sales people are expected to transition into roles within the new brokerage operation, which will be led by Julian Burzynski, executive vice president at WBG and a former Diageo North America executive.

Additionally, Diageo has named Jakob Ripshtein as its new president of Diageo Canada, replacing Maggie Lapcewich, who is leaving the company. Ripshtein has been with Diageo since 2008, in a variety of global roles.

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