Currently managing director of global reserve for Diageo, he will report to the Diageo North America president and will be a member of the North America executive team.
Thompson’s appointment comes as Peter McDonough, currently chief marketing and innovation officer, has decided to leave Diageo after almost nine years with the business.
Diageo chief marketing officer Syl Saller said: “James brings with him a unique breadth of experience, having held a range of marketing, general and commercial management roles during his two decades within Diageo. His strength in leadership, creative rigour and proven track record in building brands ranging from Guinness to Johnnie Walker Blue Label will be a huge asset to our North America business.”
The company says that during his leadership of Diageo’s Global Reserve business, Thompson built a strengthened commercial foundation and invested behind luxury brand building and innovative marketing platforms at scale. “Ensuring that this focus has been central to all business activity, he has placed Reserve at the forefront of luxury marketing, driving accelerated growth and extending Diageo’s leadership position across the segment,” says the company. Prior to this, he spent six years as chief marketing officer, Asia Pacific where he was also a member of the Asia Pacific executive team and is said to have helped deliver growth to the business by transforming Diageo’s participation in the luxury segment and building a “powerful innovation pipeline”.
Thompson is also said to brings a strong understanding of the North American market having previously served as president, Guinness Canada; senior vice president, Priority Brands, Diageo North America; and president, global marketing, vodka, rum and ready-to-drink categories. His successor will be announced later.