CMO to CEO aims to build Starward's international brand love

Former Treasury Wine Estates marketer takes CEO role at Australian whisky distillery as it sets its sights on international growth

Simon Marton
Simon Marton

International expansion and brand building is top of the list for Starward’s recently installed CEO and former category marketer as he takes the reins of the Australian whisky distillery.

Treasury Wine Estates’ former chief marketing officer, Simon Marton, re-emerged late last year as the new chief executive of Starward, a new-world whisky distillery. Marton told CMO he was attracted to the “fantastic opportunity” to accelerate growth of the Starward business, which has its sights set on international expansion this year.

He noted the Melbourne-based company has recently launched in the US, UK, France and Japan, building on early successes in Australia.

Starward operates its own distillery in Port Melbourne, less than 10 minutes away from Melbourne’s CBD. First founded in 2007, its fortunes took a big leap forward when it upgraded from its site in Essendon Fields to Port Melbourne three years ago. The group has since won a number of awards, including Best Australian Blended at the World Whiskies Awards.

“I’m keen to bring a consumer-first mindset to the building of the brand into the future,” Marton said of his role as CEO. It is understand company founder, David Vitale, has now relocated to the US.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to accelerate the growth of a relatively new business and an amazing brand in a growing category,” Marton said.

Marton officially joined the business in November. He spent 20 years with ASX-listed TWE prior to his departure in early 2018, initially joining well before its demerger from Foster’s Group. Initially working on the spirits business of acquired businesses, Mildara Blass, in marketing, Marton switched to wine in 1999. He then rose to category marketing director’s positions before becoming the global CMO in 2013.

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