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Former Kraft Heinz CMO joins Bacardi to lead marketing strategy

bacardi featuredFormer Kraft Heinz Northern European CMO Irina Rodina has joined spirit business Bacardi in a global role as senior vice-president for marketing strategy and operations.

Bacardi is the largest privately-held spirits business in the world. As well as its namesake Bacardi, it owns other brands including Martini, Grey Goose and Patrón. Bacardi itself is the second largest-selling rum brand in the world.

Rodina says she will be responsible for “driving strategic alignment and marketing transformation” across all areas, including media partnerships, data and analytics, and innovation.

She will be collaborating with and supporting global, regional and local teams in this mission.

Rodina has praised the “entrepreneurial culture” at the privately held business and said he aims to help its marketers “do what they do best – create moments that matter”, according to a LinkedIn post about her new role.

She will report into Bacardi’s top marketer, global CMO Ned Duggan, who took on the role at the end of 2022. In her LinkedIn post, Rodina thanked Duggan for the “trust” he has given her as she starts her new role.

Rodina spent just under two years at Kraft Heinz, joining the business in 2022.

Heinz on building an ‘iconic’ brand ‘beyond ketchup’

During her tenure, Rodina oversaw the launch of Heinz’s first global brand platform, ‘It has to be Heinz’, which represented its biggest media investment to date. The Northern European zone includes the UK, Ireland and the Nordics.

She also oversaw innovation into pasta sauces, including a memorable collaboration with vodka brand Absolut, in service of an overarching aim to take the brand “beyond ketchup”.

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She was named as one of Marketing Week’s Top 100 most effective marketers in 2023, in recognition of her leadership and achievements at Kraft Heinz.

Before joining Heinz, Rodina worked at the world’s biggest pasta brand Barilla, most recently as global vice-president of marketing for new business model innovations.

Before that she spent almost two decades at Unilever, beginning as a trainee and eventually rising to senior global marketing director for transformation.

She was a 2023 fellow of The Marketing Academy.

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