Mendonca becomes head of innovation after 20 years in roles spanning innovation, marketing and on-ground operation in markets including Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean. He reports to John O’Keefe, global head of innovation, Beer and Baileys.
Innovation is a key growth driver for Diageo both in Asia Pacific and across the world, Mendonca told Campaign Asia-Pacific via email interview. His primary responsibility is to develop a robust pipeline of innovation in the region. A large part of this role includes taking global propositions and adapting them to nuances of consumers in different local markets.
“Innovation is a crucial part of our growth strategy and has contributed to more than 50 per cent of Asia-Pacific’s net sales value over the last three years,” he said.
Mondonca will lead a team of 40 managers across innovation, finance, design, technical and supply. His Singapore team works with teams across different functions to develop and launch new ideas in Southeast Asia specifically, as well as luxury scotch propositions for all Asian markets, in line with brand and market strategies.
Diageo’s global innovation team is based in its five regions: North America; Western Europe; Latin America; Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey; and Asia-Pacific. The team also has “in market” specialists in different locations around the globe.
Last year, Diageo opened an innovation hub in Singapore to develop new products in Asia-Pacific. Over the last five years, innovation contributed £1.4 billion or $2.3 million to Diageo’s business, Sheth told Campaign Asia-Pacific in an earlier interview. “So if you look at North America, 73 per cent of innovation [new products] launched over the last five years are still growing at a fairly healthy rate. For our competitors, just 32 per cent of their new products are still in the market.”
Sheth takes on a newly created business unit for Southeast Asia’s emerging markets. The new business combines the company’s existing emerging markets in the region including Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines with other emerging markets.
Sheth joined Diageo in Singapore in 2007 as its innovation director of Southeast Asia and India, following 17 years with other major companies including Coca-Cola and Pepsico.