Chris PowlingCountry Director of Rémy Cointreau Canada



How did you find Rémy Cointreau?
I always admired Rémy Cointreau’s portfolio of exceptional brands, especially LOUIS XIII, Rémy Martin and Bruichladdich. Their creative positioning is what initially attracted my attention. However, the main reason I found Rémy Cointreau was thanks to the people and existing talent in Canada. When deciding to join the Rémy Cointreau Group, a reoccurring message was how family-oriented everyone in the Group was. Knowing this, made my decision process simple, as family is a value that I also hold closely to my heart.

What is the structure of Rémy Cointreau Canada?
In 2014, we successfully set up a new distribution partnership with Southern Glazers Wines & Spirits in Canada. During this transition, we set out to evolve the distribution, strategy and resources for our portfolio of brands. During this process, we set up a Rémy Cointreau team within Southern Glazers Wines & Spirits Canada. This dedicated group consists of a National Marketing Manager, National Brand Ambassador for LOUIS XIII, National Portfolio Manager, four Regional Marketing Managers (one in each core province: British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Québec), as well as two Craft Spirits Brand Ambassadors for Bruichladdich, The Botanist and Mount Gay. Leading this team, Rémy Cointreau Canada upper management consists of myself, as Country Director, and a National Brand Director for LOUIS XIII.

What does your role as Country Director entail?
I oversee all sales, marketing and commercial elements of the business within Canada. Furthermore, as I have implemented an entrepreneurial structure within our team in Canada, I also take on an active leadership role, guiding and motivating my team to help us expand with agility, innovation and visibility in the market.

What type of skills do you need for this role?
To be a self-starter, an entrepreneur, an innovator, a marketer, a salesman, a networker and a hyper-organized, efficient task-manager. You must also be an approachable leader for your team—without my team’s trust, we would not be successful. The most challenging aspect of my role is the organizational management of such a large country with multiple teams, time zones, brands and strategies to execute. Balance is key.

What makes working at Rémy Cointreau unique?
Firstly, how Rémy Cointreau’s family values cascade throughout the entire company. Secondly, the approachability, trust and guidance from all brands, management and colleagues. Throughout my career, there has not been another company for which I have worked that upholds family values as much as Rémy Cointreau does. This alone makes the Rémy Cointreau family who we are today.

Your mantra?
“Onwards and upwards.” I use this phrase daily to keep myself grounded, to not dwell on the past, and to always strive to do better in both my personal and professional life. I learned this philosophy early on in my life from a mentor, and still hold it close to me today.

Your best professional memory?
The memories we collectively are creating right now. If I rewind four years ago to when Thomas Beraud-Sudreau, current Marketing Director of Rémy Martin US, and I set out to change the Rémy Cointreau landscape in Canada, everything started with the creation of not only a team, but a family. We knew that this would become the backbone of our future success in Canada—and it is my most proud professional achievement to this day.

What’s next for our Canada team?
Our goal in Canada is to increase to 10% in total value of the US region. We will only be able to increase the value of the Canadian business by amplifying our value strategy—i.e., by selling the more expensive spirits in our portfolio, such as LOUIS XIII—to increase the overall profitability of the Canadian market. We’re on the right track to achieve this.

What do you do for fun?
As an ex-professional athlete, health and wellness play a significant role in my life, and for me, international travel is essential for a happy work-life balance.