Forbes features Beam Suntory Brand President Jessica Spence

Forbes features Beam Suntory Brand President Jessica Spence

 November 07, 2022

 Read time

Beam Suntory President of Brand Jessica Spence is featured on Forbes, discussing with Senior Contributor Billee Howard about how the company's business strategy puts its brands at the heart of the business.

When asked about her approach to premiumization and the results achieved, Jessica said: "This opportunity was why I joined Beam Suntory. The chance to join a world leader in premium spirits, with a phenomenal portfolio of brands, at a moment when it was embarking on a global business transformation was incredibly motivating to me – it’s the type of challenge I love! It also propelled me to move to the United States for the first time and to our new global headquarters in New York City."

Furthermore, Jessica said: "Simply put, our business strategy puts our brands at the heart of our business, and recognizes them as the way we drive greater value. We are transforming Beam Suntory from a market-centric business model to a global, brand-led business. Our P&L growth is now increasingly driven by price and mix versus volume."

Leaders with a deep knowledge of brands and an enterprise mindset

Highlighting how Beam Suntory achieves through the great teams in place, Jessica shared: "This journey and success would not be possible without our teams, comprised of the brightest and most human and empathetic leaders I have had the pleasure to work alongside. To ensure that our brands live at the heart of our business, we stood up houses for each global brand that are run as distinct global business units with end-to-end P&L accountability, a new approach for us. This structure requires leaders with both a deep knowledge of brands, and also a true enterprise mindset and general management skills."

Billee highlighted that Jessica has help create a culture that empowers creators and builders and that she has had to work to balance emotions and process. Sharing some best practices others should consider when realigning their cultures to better fit today’s environment and attract the best talent, Jessica explained that Beam Suntory is creating a culture that empowers its talented people to build and define great brands. 

"Each one of our employees plays a role in designing a deeply meaningful experience to realize the full potential of our iconic brands, and they deserve a culture that enables them to succeed," she said.

Looking for people with proven ability to handle disruption

Jessica has led through many transformations, and her greatest learnings are that you need to get three things right: "First, you have to look for agile learners who are fundamentally motivated by the opportunity to create from the ground up. I tend to look for people who have proven their ability to handle disruption, to create structure amidst uncertainty, embrace change and love a blank sheet of paper. This isn’t for everyone, so getting the right people is crucial."

"Second, as leaders you have to understand that you will only retain this type of talent by engaging them constantly on an emotional and rational basis. This type of talent is demanding. They have to be clear on an over-arching vision, it has to make sense to them, and they need a lot of freedom to act. Your job is often to set up the minimum possible process to enable things to work smoothly, but create the maximum space for personal impact and creativity," she said.

"Third, you need a high level of personal honesty and to give a clear-eyed view on what you are doing. In times of transformation, you need to be open about the fact that not everything is figured out yet. Leaders who pretend to have all the answers will lose the motivation, hearts and minds of the best talent. You have to be honest about the journey you are on and let people contribute to that. It’s about balancing being very clear and confident about the destination, but being very open to the ways of getting there, asking for input and creating a culture of learning and challenge."

Read the article in full. 

Beam Suntory is a prime employer for women 

Work with Beam Suntory across functions and borders to inspire innovation and drive winning results. 

Embark on an exciting new career journey with Beam Suntory.

Search their latest job vacancies



Search jobs

Stay connected by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and following us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

Share this page:

  Linkedin     X     Instagram     Facebook     Press release 

Join our women's careers community