Updating Results

David Smith

What’s your job about

I lead Diageo’s business in Australia. I am responsible for all aspects from manufacturing, marketing, sales, innovation and our reputation. Most significantly I have the privilege of leading the 450 fantastic people we have in the business in Australia.

What’s your background

I joined the Diageo Graduate Scheme back in 1990!

I grew up in Leicester in the middle England and went to Aston Uni in Birmingham. I loved the marketing part of my degree and decided I wanted a career in marketing in a business with great consumer brands. I was fortunate enough to get a place on the Diageo (Guinness in those days) Graduate scheme and joined in 1990, one of 42 Graduates who joined the company across the world in that year.

My first brand was Gordon’s gin and with a real job from day 1 and the support of fantastic training courses, I learnt lots over my first few years, I also really enjoyed the business and the community I had become a part of.

After 5 years, I joined another great business for brands and people, Cadbury. I spent 6 years there before rejoining Diageo as Guinness Marketing Director in GB in 2000. 2 years into this role, the business supported me to make the biggest role change of my career. Motivated by a long term ambition to be an MD I took a role in Sales. This was a scary move for me and the learning was like drinking water from a fire hose. After 4 years, I was delighted to become Sales Director for Diageo in GB.

I loved working in Marketing and Sales and over the last 6 ½ years have had the best of both worlds as a General Manager. Firstly, spending 4 years as Country Director in Ireland where Diageo have a brilliant business with Guinness at the heart of it. For the last 2 ½ years I’ve been the MD in Australia enjoying the role and living in Sydney with my wife Karen and our two boys.

Could someone else with a different background do my job?

Absolutely. The diversity in the Diageo MDs around the world is great. Women & Men from different countries & cultures each with a unique career path. We are perhaps united in three things;  a passion for brands, a passion for people and a desire to create high performance cultures where everybody can contribute their all, be themselves and enjoy life.

The coolest thing about my job

I get to work helping to build some of the world’s best brands, alongside great people in an ambitious, supportive Global business. The business encourages all of us to live our purpose and I get a huge buzz from trying to “create energy and possibilities that make things prosper”. I am learning the whole time as much from making mistakes as my successes.

One of the things I value the most is the flexible & grown up attitude the business has to work. It’s all about output rather than presenteeism. This has allowed me lots of time for child care & to be with my family and importantly helps me get to the gym and have time for me everyday.

The limitations of my job.

Being a Global business there are a few late night phone calls!

3 Pieces of advice for me as a student

  • Be yourself
  • Have fun
  • The idea you have to join Diageo as a Graduate is a good one!!