Diageo appoints Facebook's Nicola Mendelsohn to its board

The drinks giant has appointed Facebook's EMEA chief to its board. Perhaps it wants more likes?

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 03 Nov 2014

Drinks giant Diageo relies on the strength of its brands, which range from Guinness to Baileys and Smirnoff vodka. Perhaps not surprising, then, that it has opted to appoint Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s boss in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as a non-executive director.

Mendelsohn, who spoke at the MT Live conference in June about the importance for companies of having a mobile strategy, moved to Facebook last summer after five years as executive chairman of ad agency Karmarama, so knows her stuff about reaching out to consumers.

Her appointment also means Diageo keeps a relatively high proportion of women on its somewhat cumbersome board. When Mendelsohn joins in September, along with Alan Stewart, the Marks & Spencer CFO defecting to Tesco, there will be five women and seven men around the top table.

It’s certainly doing better than many FTSE 100 companies on that front: miners Antofagasta and Glencore Xstrata became the last ones to appoint their first female director just this year. But it would be nice to see a board or few that’s at least half women some time soon.

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