Having previously worked at Procter & Gamble for 16 years across nearly all of its categories, from skincare to petfood, Lawrie says that he had wanted to join a company that was really going somewhere. He was asked by the new owner of Whyte & Mackay to join the company and hasn't looked back since.
"I was looking for a company that was just about to make some big changes and I knew that when I joined something special was about to happen," he says.
Change has certainly been apparent at Whyte & Mackay since then, including the recent redesign of the packaging for its vodka brand Vladivar. The label has been completely redesigned by a Belgian graffiti artist in order to appeal, says Lawrie, to the young at heart.
He admits: "Vladivar had lost touch with the consumer. But now the packaging is very different and we are confident that if we distribute it right, people will buy it." Lawrie says that in the short-term Whyte & Mackay UK's priority is to make Vladivar and its premium whisky brand Isle of Jura a success in the UK. Although the company may not have performed at its best over the past ten years, it now has the "very basic but fantastic principle of producing beautiful products in beautiful packaging," he says. "At any company the people make the real difference. If you manage to get the balance right between fantastic products and fantastic people, you're laughing. "At Whyte and Mackay it really is a team effort and everyone should be recognised for the splendid work that they are doing.