Catch up with Neil Shah, Head of Guinness GB
Hear from Neil as he discusses his career journey so far, our inclusive culture and his new role as Head of Guinness for Great Britain.
Feature 21 OCT 2021
Neil Shah has had a vibrant and inspiring Marketing career here at Diageo. From launching some category-leading ‘Ready to Drink’ cans to rolling out Smirnoff’s first global campaign in 25 years, Neil has accomplished plenty during his 5 years with us whilst remaining a passionate advocate for inclusion and diversity in the workplace.
A lot has changed since we first caught up with Neil almost three years ago, so we caught back up with him to discover more about his new role in the UK and why he remains proud to work for Diageo.
What’s your Diageo experience been like so far, journey to current role?
One of the many things that’s great about at career at Diageo is the breadth of our business in terms of the geographical spread, amazing brand portfolio and the variety of roles that you can get involved in. I’ve been lucky enough to experience this first-hand during my time here; starting my journey leading the Ready Drinks portfolio in the Europe business, then moving to work within the Smirnoff Global brand team in New York and more recently returning to London as Head of Guinness, GB.
Tell us more about your current role as Head of Guinness, GB?
It’s a real privilege to get to work on such an iconic brand like Guinness, which is entrenched in story and substance. The legacy of the brand is phenomenal and to have the chance to play a part in its future is a real career highlight! A recent example of this is the transformation we’re driving on Guinness within the at-home occasion stemming from the impact the pandemic has had on the On Trade. Due to this, our focus has been adapting to consumer and customer needs in the Off Trade to grow this portion of our business, whilst building a plan to support the On Trade emerge stronger when it returns.
Outside of your role, what’s important to you at Diageo?
A big aspect of why I’m proud to work at Diageo is how progressive the organisation is - the company is genuinely committed to making Diageo a place where all can thrive. This is really evident from our diverse employee base and progressive employment initiatives, such as our market-leading family leave policies. Furthermore, there’s lots of focus on ensuring we have a positive impact with our brands and the communities they operate within. For example, the progressive portrayal agenda our brands adhere to in order to ensure we don’t enforce harmful stereotypes and the community fund that was set up to support social justice in America in the response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
If we were to catch up with you again in 5 years, what would you have hoped for the Guinness Brand Team to have achieved?
I would love to see Guinness’ legacy continue, with the brand reaching the next level of iconicity - even more people enjoying it in the pub or at home, our customers being further energised about it, scaled innovation taking us into new spaces and award-winning creative work.