Carlsberg’s Khalil Younes
Repeated success with Strategy into Action principles
In 1989, Khalil Younes’ marketing career took off when he landed a job as brand assistant working on Dash 3 detergent for P&G in Paris. After a few years at the famous P&G marketing boot camp and a Harvard MBA under his belt, Khalil was lured to Atlanta by Coca-Cola, where he soon became, among other things, Global Brand Manager for Cherry Coke. From 1996 on, as local and regional Marketing Director across various Eastern European markets, Khalil worked out of Hungary, Istanbul and Vienna, developing a reputation for getting both strategy and execution right. In 2001, Khalil took his first general management role, again in Hungary, this time as President responsible for all aspects of the business. During difficult business circumstances, his eventual success earned him enormous respect and an elevated profile back in Atlanta.
Two years later, Coke asked Khalil to return to Atlanta to turn around the flagging Fanta orange drink business – a brand suffering from years of decline, and a near-complete absence of strategic direction from the center. Khalil’s instructions were unambiguous: bring direction, cut duplication, and grow the brand. Less than a year later, Fanta’s global re-launch was piloted and rolled out quickly in several countries. It was a textbook example of ensuring that local marketing directors could fully support a mix that had been developed elsewhere. The success of the Fanta re-launch in market, the speed of the rollout, and the significant savings resulting from pruning unnecessary complexities – all these elements led to Khalil’s promotion to Head of Marketing for the enormous, Coke-owned global juice business that includes all the Minute Maid brands.
In 2009, Khalil moved back across the Atlantic to become the new CMO of Carlsberg Beer in Copenhagen. With responsibility for many beer brands, including Carlsberg, Kronenbourg and Tuborg, Khalil adhered to his Strategy into Action principles by reaching out to key stakeholders, listening to what they had to say, and then developing the brand’s strategy. Today, Khalil is again working closely with local markets everywhere to explain and implement the global plan that will help local growth.
“I’m someone who learns by doing. So what I’ve tried to do is create building blocks in my career by putting myself outside of my comfort zone, seeking new work experiences that would stretch me beyond my previous roles. I believe that’s one of the best ways to build marketing capability, developing one or two new competencies in each and every role you move into.”
—Khalil Younes, Chief Marketing Officer, Carlsberg Beer