Pernod Ricard has confirmed a "reduction of roles" at its UK unit, with the wine sales and marketing director heading back to his native Australia.

Pernod Ricard UK said today (10 September) that, following the completion of its formal consultation process with staff - which began in July - the number of roles in the unit's sales, marketing and communications functions has been reduced by a total of 36.

While some redundancies were mitigated through natural attrition and a recruitment freeze, a total of 14 employees did not secure alternative roles within the business and will be leaving the unit "within the next few weeks", Pernod UK said.

At the same time, Pernod UK said, Nick Blair will vacate the wine sales and marketing director position at the end of this year. Blair will subsequently return to Pernod Ricard Pacific, based in Sydney, as global communications director, reporting to Jean-Christophe Coutures, chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard Pacific.

He will be in charge of internal communication, corporate communication and will also assume responsibility for global brand communication working with the global marketing and winemaking teams of Orlando Wines and Pernod Ricard New Zealand.

Replacing Blair in the UK, in a newly-created role, will be Simon Thomas, the current deputy managing director for spirits. Thomas will assume the role of deputy managing director for wine at the unit, starting on 1 January next year.

Simon van Moppes, meanwhile, is appointed to the position of commercial director for spirits. Since joining Pernod Ricard UK in January 2006, van Moppes has managed both the off- and on-trade spirits channels for Pernod UK.

The appointment of a new channel director for the on-trade will be confirmed in due course.