After helming a number of premium spirits brands worldwide, Nodjame Fouad was ready for her next career step. In 2022, she moved to Ireland to become the chair and CEO of Irish Distillers, producer of the world’s best-selling Irish whiskey, Jameson.
Fouad has nearly 20 years of experience in various global marketing and leadership roles at Pernod Ricard, a company with a portfolio of more than 240 brands of spirits and wine, including Jameson and Absolut Vodka.
Fouad started as Absolut’s marketing director for Canada, Latin and South America before being promoted several times to senior management positions that took her all over the world — including New York, Stockholm, Hong Kong and Japan.
“Irish whiskey has been the fastest-growing spirits category in the past decade and Jameson has been driving that growth. There will always be trends, but the long-term trajectory is very solid, and one where we’re seeing consumers continuing to choose premium products.”
Proudest career moment
“I was posted in Japan for my first CEO role and within a year, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The entire organization worked on protecting the business, pivoting as much as we could while supporting our customers. We got through that intact, without any impact on our staff, which was really great.”
The Concordia factor
“I did my degree in political science at Concordia and it taught me how to think critically: how to assess situations, evaluate them and focus on prioritizing the most important elements. What I really learned was broad-based critical thinking and analysis, which prepared me to be a leader in the business world.”
Advice for students
“You grow when you step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Remember that during the early stages of your career, people around you will recognize the potential in you that you might not already see in yourself. For me, mentoring is also really important. Anyone who has the opportunity to have a good mentor will always flourish.”