A scotch whisky distiller, when asked recently if he made any blends, was gloriously sniffy and dismissive of blended whisky. It would have been interesting to see and hear what he would have made of the Johnnie Walker Directors Blends, which I got to taste last Thursday (November 28) in London.
Patrick Ricard, the titular head of the Pernod Ricard family, has died. He was 67.
The cause of death has not been disclosed but reports in France suggest he suffered a heart attack on the family-owned island of Bendor, off the French Riviera.
A company statement said: “He was the architect of the group’s ambitious strategy of growth through acquisition, aimed at broadening the product range and accelerating the development of the international business.
“The strategy proved a resounding success, sales outside France now accounting for 90% of turnover as against 17% when the group was formed.”
Under Patrick Ricard’s leadership acquisitions included Campbell Distillers in Scotland, Austin Nichols in the USA, Ramazzotti in Italy, Irish Distillers and Orlando Wyndham in Australia.
According to the French-headquartered group it was also Ricard’s decision to create Havana Club International in Cuba.
Despite rapid growth over the past few decades, the group’s operational principle – decentralisation – was continually championed by Ricard.
A quote from Ricard on Pernod Ricard’s website read: “Everything has changed since the beginning. Everything will continue to change in the future, but the key factors of success will remain the same: a long-term vision, which alone enables us to build over time, together with decentralisation and conviviality. We are all passionate creators.”
1945: Ricard is born
1967: Ricard joined his father Paul Ricard’s company in 1932
1972: Ricard became managing director
1978: Appointed managing director of Pernod Ricard, following the merger with Pernod, and then became chairman and chief executive officer.
2008: Ricard resigned from his executive duties at the head of the group and became chairman of the board of directors.