Scotch giant Diageo hires new CFO from Xerox

Kathryn Mikells

Scotch whisky giant Diageo, the world’s biggest spirits maker, said Kathryn Mikells (pictured) will become its chief financial officer on November 9.

Mikells succeeds Deirdre Mahlan, who is returning to the United States as Diageo’s head of North America.

Diageo employs roughly 4,000 people in Scotland and its brands include Johnnie Walker, Bell’s, Cragganmore, Lagavulin, Talisker, Dalwhinnie, Glenkinchie and J&B.

The new finance chief is joining Diageo — which operates almost 30 malt distilleries — from Xerox, where she has been CFO since May 2013.

As of last year, Diageo’s businesses in Scotland produced roughly 50 million cases of Scotch and white spirits annually — and 85% of that production is sold overseas.

Mikells has held a number of senior finance roles at global businesses, including United Airlines where she was CFO from 2008 to 2010.

“Diageo is focused on driving performance from our core and on improving productivity to drive out cost to invest in growth,” said Ivan Menezes, Diageo CEO.

“Kathryn has the experience of working with teams to drive disciplined performance management which will contribute to the achievement of our performance ambition.”

Mikells said this was a unique opportunity to work for a company with leading consumer brands and unparalleled global reach.

“Diageo has a clear and compelling strategy and I am looking forward to working with Ivan and the team to deliver it,” added Mikells.