Allied Domecq yesterday announced that it had appointed Tom V. Wilen as its new president for its North American spirits business.

Allied CEO Philip Bowman said: "Tom joins Allied Domecq with more than 20 years experience in the drinks industry, almost equally split between the Finnish national distillers Alko Ltd. and Jim Beam Brands."

Wilen joined Alko in 1978 and was with the company for 11 years, working in Helsinki, Sydney and New York in worldwide duty free, sales and marketing, culminating in the role of president for the Western Hemisphere, specifically charged with growing the company's US business.

In 1989 he joined the Jim Beam Brands division of Fortune Brands Inc, covering global strategic planning, sales and marketing roles, becoming chief operating officer ten years later. Presently, Wilen is the president and chief executive officer of Canton Woods Product Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chene & Cie, the world's leading provider of French and American premium oak products to the worldwide premium wine industry. Wilen will join Allied Domecq on June 24.

"Tom is joining us at a very exciting time for the entire drinks industry," said Bowman. "Under the interim leadership and direction of Richard Turner, our US business has stabilised and our key brands are showing good recovery of market share. Richard will continue to support Tom and the US business during the transition period. I thank Richard for his significant contribution to the business at a challenging time."

Bowman continued: "I welcome Tom to our team. His expertise will enhance and complement our organization."