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Pernod Ricard seeks staff improvements in South Korea

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Pernod Ricard is aiming to revitalise its struggling South Korean unit with fresh blood as part of an employee shake-up.

Pernod sells Imperial Scotch whisky in South Korea

Pernod sells Imperial Scotch whisky in South Korea

The unit, which welcomes new CEO Jean Touboul on 1 September, is offering voluntary redundancies to staff while seeking new applicants to replace any leavers. Headcount at the unit will remain the same, a Pernod spokesperson told just-drinks today.

"We want to improve our staff," the spokesperson said. "We want to put people with more skills, more ambition - maybe younger people - in key positions to transform the company."

The move follows a number of years of disappointing performances for Pernod in South Korea blamed on a declining Scotch whisky market. The company produces the Imperial Scotch whisky brand for South Korean consumers. However the Scotch category has been hit by a move to white spirits and, more recently, trends for lower-abv beverages. In fiscal-2015, Pernod's South Korean sales were down 13%, while in its most recent first-half results, the company highlighted "difficulties" in the country.

Touboul will replace as CEO Jean-Manuel Spriet, who has left the company. The spokesperson today declined to give a reason for Spriet's departure.

Asked if there is a question mark over staff quality at Pernod Ricard Korea, the spokesperson said: "This applies to both to the senior management and the staff. We will try to adapt, to train people."

According to a Korea Times report yesterday, Pernod's sales in South Korea dropped 11% to KRW259bn (US$226m) between July 2014 to June 2015. Meanwhile, its market share fell from 35.4% in 2012 to 25.3% in 2015. Over the same period, Diageo reportedly grew its market share from 37.7% to 38.9%.

Last November, Pernod added Imperial Neon to its Imperial whisky range in Korea. The company described the whisky as "smooth".


Sectors: HR – personnel, Spirits

Companies: Pernod Ricard

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