Diageo is to launch a team to lead the marketing and commercialisation of its luxury brand portfolio in the US.

Called the Reserve Brands Group, it will focus solely on developing and driving the marketing and commercialisation around Diageo's luxury brands: Ciroc, No. TEN by Tanqueray, Don Julio, Bulleit Bourbon, the Johnnie Walker luxury marques, including Green, Gold and Blue Label, Godiva, The Classic Malts of Scotland and other innovations as they are launched.

The company launched a similar scheme in the UK in November 2003, also called the Reserve Brands Group which covered a similar remit.

Ivan Menezes, president and CEO of Diageo North America said: "We're creating this group in response to consumers' growing passion for super premium and luxury spirits." Continued Menezes, "The capabilities required to build luxury brands are fundamentally different from the rest of Diageo's premium portfolio and, as such, we're creating a dedicated team to focus on meeting and exceeding our customers' and consumers' expectations."

Katherine Nicholls will lead the group as vice president of marketing, Reserve Brands, and will report directly to Norma Drew, senior vice president of marketing. Nicholls will work closely with Diageo's vice president of Scotch, Chris Parsons, the vice president of North America whisky, Richard Nichols, and the vice president of Gins, Jennifer Van Ness.

Nicholls was most recently as director of marketing, key markets, for Diageo. She also spent nine years with Moet et Chandon and Dom Perignon in both Canada and the US.

Nicholls said: "Americans from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds are enjoying luxury goods at a rate unimaginable just ten years ago. This trend is alive in the fashion, automotive, electronics and spirits categories. I look forward to capitalizing on this trend with Diageo's unrivaled luxury portfolio."

Drew added: "The Reserve Brand Group will develop effective strategies that speak to our customers and consumers. This includes relationship marketing to luxury consumers, amplifying Diageo's high image event reach, developing relationships with leading luxury brands, and optimizing strategic alliances with media partners."

Reporting directly to Nicholls is Efren Puente, who has been appointed director of marketing, Reserve Brand Group.

Glen Philpott has been appointed commercial director, Reserve Brand Group.