Patrón’s Applbaum joins ‘wellness’ cannabis group

Lee Applbaum, the former chief marketing officer for Patrón and Grey Goose, has joined global cannabis firm Surterra Wellness.

Applbaum left his role with the Bacardi-owned brands at the end of last month.

He takes up the role of CMO for Surterra Wellness, which is said to be one of the fastest-growing ‘wellness’ companies in the US, and will work within its leadership team to “build iconic cannabis brands” that “improve the wellbeing of consumers”.

Reporting to Surterra CEO William ‘Beau’ Wrigley, Applbaum will lead the group’s global marketing, product innovation, integrated brand marketing, retail and sales initiatives.

“Lee is one of the most extraordinary brand builders in the business and having him join our executive leadership team is a big win for Surterra,” said Wrigley.

“As an accomplished senior marketing expert, Lee is exceptional at branding products in ways consumers connect with authentically, engaging with consumers at the right moments, and making the complex simple – all critically important in the cannabis business.

“Lee also shares our consumer-first mind-set, our values, and our aim to be the gold-standard in the business.”

Applbaum joined Patrón Spirits International in 2013 from Australian department store chain Target, prior to Bacardi’s acquisition of the Tequila company in April 2018. He assumed the additional position of CMO for Grey Goose vodka in August last year.

“Surterra is creating the blueprint for leadership in the cannabis space based on a strong ethos, which I immediately identified with having come from brands with a heritage of ethos,” said Applbaum.

“I’m excited to make the leap from luxury spirits to the dynamic cannabis industry because of Beau Wrigley’s vision for Surterra and the industry.

“I’m honoured to join a team of the most experienced and game-changing leaders of global iconic companies and brands to create innovative cannabis products and authentic brands that will make a big impact on the well-being of consumers.”

At the same time, former Coca-Cola executive Philippa Classey has joined Surterra as its first international executive leadership team member and will act as managing director for Europe.

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