Global Brands targets continued growth after expanding leadership team

Independent ready-to-drink experts, Global Brands, reveals its continued growth plans, following changes to its senior leadership team structure.

Following co-founder Mark James’ decision to step into a non-executive director role, Julian Atkins has been appointed as Global Brands’ Managing Director. Shaun Bacon remains Group Finance & Managing Director.

James, who co-founded the UK-based company with chairman Steve Perez, became managing director in 2009 after initially serving as sales director.

Perez said: “I would like to thank Mark James for his outstanding contribution to Global Brands, who has been integral to the company’s development and success, since joining in 1993.”

Previously holding the role of Commercial Director, Atkins has been with Global Brands for almost 15 years. During this time, he has played a major role in the resurrection and relaunch of premium mixer brand, Franklin & Sons, subsequently turning it into a £14m turnover brand. It has now launched into more premium channels, leading to a foothold in HORECA and wide-ranging distribution across 61 countries.

Most recently, Julian has championed the brand new, innovative ‘be.’ cocktail range, featuring several classic cocktail flavours, suitably served in ready-to-drink 200ml cans.

Other senior appointments include Matt Bulcroft stepping up from On Trade Sales Director to join the main board as Marketing Director, Mike Smith re-joining the business as UK Sales Director and Rebecca Jarvis-Hook taking on a newly crafted role as Head of People & HR.

The changes to the senior leadership team structure reflect Global Brands’ ambitious five-year growth plan, with the recent appointments aiming to further establish the business as the independent drinks experts in the UK, with plans to increase turnover to more than £135m and break into 100 international markets.

Founder and Chairman Steve Perez continued: “As Mark transitions to pursue new opportunities, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Julian Atkins as the new Managing Director. Julian, a respected, well known, and popular figure in the industry, brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of success to this role. Under his leadership, I am confident that the company will continue to thrive exponentially, to achieve new heights.”

The restructure comes on the back of substantial growth results for Global Brands, with the company increasing its net revenue since 2019, from £55m to £75m, and becoming the largest supplier of canned cocktails to the off-trade category in the UK (Nielsen RTD data 2023).

Julian added: “We have an ambitious 5 year growth strategy, which will see Global Brands expand on its export business and move into new categories within the drinks sector.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with Matt, Mike and our broader first class team, to develop our portfolio, through an exciting combination of acquisition, NPD and distribution agreements.”

Global Brands’ portfolio of brands now includes VK, Frankin & Sons, be., Hooch, All Shook Up, Shake Baby Shake, Beviamo, Kick Energy, Lustre and Amigos Tequila Beer.


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