Meet Joao Rozario, VP Marketing for Absolut at Pernod Ricard USA
Tell us about your professional background?
I got into FAAP College in Sao Paulo, Brazil, when I was 17 years old to study Business Administration, followed by learning English in Cambridge, UK. This set me up to move to London where I started my career as a Global Brand Manager at Unilever, while also studying for a Masters in Marketing Management.
By late 2005, my wife and I moved back to Brazil, where I worked on the brand “Omo” for Latin America and as Personal Care Director for Brazil. Three years later, Pernod Ricard invited me to take care of their premium portfolio, which included incorporating Absolut into the Organization. An offer I could not refuse! After 2 great years, I took over the Communications Director role at Absolut in Sweden. Next came an exciting and challenging move to New York as Marketing VP for Absolut. And now, after almost 5 years in the USA, I have been offered another great opportunity: Marketing Director for Pernod Ricard Southern Europe, based in Italy.
How do you turn your international travelling life into a personal and professional asset?
Professionally, it has made me much more complete. I have opened my mind to things that I would have never been exposed to if I hadn’t left Brazil.
But for me, it was key to turn “travelling a lot” into a personal family asset too. My kids have grown with us, understanding different cultures and enjoying exploring the world. Mixing travelling with development is a priceless experience.
Does coming from an emerging and fast-growing country provide you with a different point of view?
Every culture demands a different working style. Being Brazilian gives me an interesting perspective since it’s a very volatile country. One day the economy is good, the next it is not. Economic crises peppered my childhood, and to bounce back we learned to be strong and to find solutions. Pragmatism, flexibility and commitment to drive change have made me who I am. But I also learned to understand and respect my peers’ local cultures, adapting my management style and always willing to learn more about their different points of view too.
How would you encourage a colleague to embrace international mobility?
Simply, 2 points:
International mobility is a life decision.
I perform at my best when my personal and professional objectives are in sync. Have clarity on your goals and how an international career can help achieve them to embark in such an experience.
Embark on the journey early in your career. It’s the best time to be open to new cultures and always great to gain perspective on global organizations.
With so much travel, how do you manage your work/life balance?
I always ask myself “is it worth it?” followed by “can I make it worth it”? In my case, this means having time for my family, exercising, playing soccer, skiing and getting to know the people and places where we live in – as well as enjoying Pernod Ricard’s entertainment ethos by socializing at parties and events.
You’ve been participating to one of our Pernod Ricard Leadership programmes with INSEAD program. How important is it to keep learning?
To keep on learning is extremely important. With technology driving life (and marketing) the way it does today, knowledge about how new generations think and interact with brands is crucial. What was news yesterday might not be relevant tomorrow!
INSEAD has been an amazing experience, to learn more about what is out there, but also to work with teams from different markets, helping me grow into a better leader. The big challenge is to keep learning on a day-to-day basis, seeking what is new thanks to experts and even our kids - who are the new Millennials, the Gen Z.
What advice would you give to a young professional starting his career at Pernod Ricard?
If you are looking for an opportunity to transform how consumers entertain, and work with high levels of entrepreneurship and freedom, Pernod Ricard is the right place for you.
I love the risk-taking culture that we are building. It is what keeps me passionate every day!